Some of our history
Our history began in the 1960s with the door-to-door sale of codfish across the streets of downtown Lisbon. João Alves and his father would leave their small grocery store in São Pedro da Cadeira, Torres Vedras, and distribute the people’s “faithful friend”, in other words, codfish.
The codfish business marked him from a very young age and later, one day in 1985, after establishing himself on his own and inspired by the names of his two sons, Ricardo and Bernardo Alves, João Alves incorporated the company that would become a reference in the codfish sector – Riberalves.
At first, Riberalves was a distribution company, a cash & carry business with a significant focus on the food sector. Codfish soon had an important role in its activity, so much that it now offers the renting of codfish dryers.
After the sale of this cash & carry in 1990, João Alves decided to focus exclusively on the selling and processing of codfish, launching Riberalves’ first major investment: the construction of the Carvalhal industrial unit in Torres Vedras, which is the company’s current head office, from which all activity is coordinated.
At the age of 26, João António Alves fulfilled his objective of establishing himself as a merchant, acquiring from his father-in-law Garrafeira do Oeste, a historical house in the centre of Torres Vedras. Back from overseas, already married to Manuela Alves, he focused on the commerce of beverages and food, including codfish.
Riberalves was founded. João António Alves established the company, leaving the facilities in the centre of Torres Vedras and expanding into a cash & carry just outside the city. The conditions for the development of the activity were created.
João António Alves sold the cash & carry business and part of the facilities to the Jerónimo Martins group. The strategy was directing Riberalves exclusively to the business of the “faithful friend”. The rental of codfish dryers began. Simultaneously, Riberalves Imobiliária was founded to manage investments in the construction sector.
Riberalves’ first industrial unit was created, the new “Parent House” of the company, in a total area of 10,000 metres dedicated to the production of codfish. It is located in Carvalhal, Torres Vedras, and it is from here that Riberalves’ codfish reaches the whole country.
Riberalves took the leap into internationalisation, beginning distribution in Brazil. Later, the country became the company’s main export market, followed by Angola and the so-called “Mercado da Saudade”.
The Riberalves Group welcomes a new company, with the acquisition of Novo Dia Cafés, heir to Central Cafeeira de Torres Vedras, a reference name in the coffee sector in the West region. João António Alves bets in a new business area that he is also passionate about.
Riberalves proposed a historical reinvention of codfish consumption, launching the Ready-to-Cook Codfish, already soaked. A proposal that combines convenience with the quality and flavour of the best Portuguese cured codfish.
On a small piece of paper, João António Alves and entrepreneur Carlos Marques da Costa signed the purchase and sale agreement of Comimba, a codfish processing plant in Moita. Here, Riberalves invested more than 20 million euros in the pioneering process of the Ready-to-Cook Codfish, investing in new trends and in the transition to the consumption of pre-soaked codfish. Thus, the largest factory in the world dedicated to the processing of codfish was born, with 40,000 metres of production area.
Riberalves acquires the Mar Alto factory, in Palhais (Barreiro), with the objective of reinforcing the codfish production capacity, investing 4 million euros.
Riberalves Angola was set up and the company’s first facilities in Luanda were established in an effort to focus on the new market.
Academia do Bacalhau was born. A place to celebrate a very relevant symbol of Portuguese culture. Within the industrial complex of Comimba, the company shared with partners and friends the production and tasting experience of the “faithful friend”.
Riberalves Brasil was founded. The company’s largest export market gained a commercial structure based in the country, supporting the main distribution players with a team of over 30 employees.
First harvest of the AdegaMãe project. A new business area was born within the Riberalves Group, in the wine tourism sector, making a long-time dream of the Alves family come true. The name, which has become a reference in the Lisbon Wine Region, is a tribute paid by the men of the family to the matriarch, Manuela Alves.
Riberalves invests US$5 million in Angola to set up a local industry capable of responding to growing demand from that market.
The Novo Dia Cafés company, totally restructured, with a new image, new products and a strong implementation in the Lisbon-Leiria axis, is the target of acquisition by the Newcoffee Company Group, one of the main players in the coffee sector in Portugal.
Riberalves innovated yet again, introducing Ready-to-Cook Codfish Loins without bones, as well as a range of pre-cooked products, inspired by traditional codfish recipes.
A big family
Despite its growth, Riberalves currently remains a family business and 100% Portuguese. Ricardo and Bernardo Alves, whose names inspired the name of the company, joined, along with their parents João Alves and Manuela Alves, the administrative structure of the group, which has been expanding year after year, with about 500 employees as of today.
More than a company, Riberalves has become a big family that has been sharing an extraordinary passion for the “faithful friend” with the Portuguese people, the biggest codfish consumers in the world. A National Passion.
Honouring the history, tradition, quality and flavour of Portuguese Codfish, sharing with families all over the world the passion for healthy food products, of sustainable origin, suited to the needs of consumers.
A company recognised globally for its passion and leadership in codfish production, and for the development of new, sustainable and high-quality products.
The world’s largest factory in the sector
Riberalves produces more than 30,000 tonnes of codfish a year, equivalent to about 8% to 10% of all codfish caught in the world. The production capacity of the company was strongly boosted from the year 2000, after the investment in the industrial unit of Moita, which is now the biggest unit in the world to operate exclusively in the codfish sector.
In this unit, Riberalves has implemented its own technology, developed to assure the production of the Deep-Frozen Pre-Soaked Ready-to-Cook Codfish, a product category that, due to its quality and practical nature, has allowed the reinvention of the consumption of the “faithful friend” and aim for new markets.
Reinventing codfish consumption
It is precisely in the industrial unit of Moita that Riberalves centres the production process of Deep-Frozen Pre-Soaked Ready-to-Cook Codfish.
Thanks to its quality and practical nature, this Ready-to-Cook Codfish, developed since 2000, has been establishing itself as a preference among younger consumers and families, as well as restaurants and new international markets, since it does not entail the constraints of homemade soaking and freezing, while guaranteeing the best Portuguese Cured Codfish.
A passion from portugal to the world
A leading company in a very mature and demanding Portuguese market, Riberalves stands out for its quality and innovation, developing new products that have allowed it to progressively expand into new markets.
The company’s presence is not limited to the national territory – Riberalves operates in over 20 countries, exporting 40% of its production to the so-called “Mercado da Saudade”, alongside Portuguese communities or Portuguese culture.