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In 1887, José de Garavilla y Quintana founded Elantxobe, which formed the basis for what is now one of the largest extractive fishing and tinned fish companies in Europe.
The business flourished and was soon relocated to Bermeo, which had a larger port and fleet, allowing the company to make better use of raw materials and facilitating commercialisation of production.
In 1917 it unveiled what was then considered one of the best, most modern tinned food factories in Europe, "La Equitativa", which was the brand under which the company marketed a significant amount of its production for many years.
In 1931, the business was passed down to Estanislao Garavilla Landeta, who relaunched and consolidated the business. Even then, the business faced difficult times: periods of war, division and shortage of materials, which in 1936, faced with the impossibility of continuing production as well as increasing scarcity of resources, led Garavilla Landeta to seek his fortune abroad. In 1952 the company returned to its native Bermeo. This determination, an unrelenting work ethic and the vision of beginning to tin tuna from the SKIPJACK species (the popular TUNA), used in America but until that point not in Europe, all contributed to the business slowly but surely re-establishing itself.
During the '60s, the Isabel brand was created, founding 11 factories throughout the Iberian Peninsula and Canary Islands under the principle that
With the creation of a powerful commercial network, an active presence in the media and a modern fishing fleet, the 70s, 80s and 90s became the company's dominant years, now under the leadership of the third generation of the family.
At this time, Conservas Garavilla consolidated its structure and image to create a firm prestige. Isabel would be the first brand from the tinned food sector with wide media presence whose slogan
"¡Qué bien, hoy comemos con Isabel!" (Hooray, tonight we're dining with Isabel!) had all of Spain humming along with the joy and satisfaction of its products.
In 1999 Conservas Garavilla created the new Garavilla product range, a wide and varied selection of products to satisfy the most discerning tastes on the market.
In the year 2002, the company opened its new headquarters and new production centre in the municipality of Mundaka, replacing the factory in Bermeo.
In the summer of 2003, it released its new logo and the new packaging design.
Isabel launched its new Bol salads in 2004. These new salads, in 'Bol' aluminium cans that come with a fork, lid and super-easy opening, provide an eating solution adapted to modern times.
Always conscious of healthy eating and the preservation of the Mediterranean diet, Isabel expanded its yellowfin tuna line to include yellowfin tuna in vegetable oil high in oleic acid.
Under the name Abrir y Listo (Open and Go), in 2006 Isabel launched a wide and delicious range of different types of ready-to-eat tuna fillets. With this new product, Isabel created a new category within the tinned fish market.
In 2007 Isabel launched the Tuna Burger, with all the appeal of a hamburger and all the health properties of seafood. This product was initially conceived with children in mind, with the aim of complementing their diet with fish.
Abrir y Listo grew with the launch of other dishes such as baby squid in their ink, baby squid with onions and Galician-style Octopus.
In the year 2010 Isabel introduced NATURFRESH into the market: a new technology that, through an exclusive sterilisation process, retains all the properties and flavour of the ingredients in a natural way, with no need for preservatives.
Isabel widened its range of products using NATURFRESH technology and, in 2012, launched Naturfresh Tuna, offering more tender, flavourful tuna fillets.
In 2013 the salad line was reformed with the launch of the optimised range with an improved recipe.
In 2013 the range of pre-made dishes was also expanded to include a fillet with onion, fillet with baby vegetables and marmitako, a Basque tuna stew.
In the year 2014, the anchovy fillets in olive oil were launched in the new dual-pack format, aimed at customers wishing to enjoy this wonderful product in smaller portions without wasting any of the product.
Finally, in 2015, after a great deal of hard work, three Conservas Isabel products received the prestigious "Product of the Year" award, chosen by consumers to reward innovative products. On this occasion, the prize went to the Bol salads, Naturfresh tuna and Dual-pack anchovies.