The fourth range, which is what the Belgians call the segment of processed fresh produce, is quickly growing. Two years ago, Jacques Remy started with the production of these convenience products. Two years later, volume has grown, and although it’s still a small part of the company, it is increasing in importance. David Remy talks about developments within the company.
Located in Marcinelle in Wallonia, Jacques Remy was founded more than 40 years ago. The company originally focused on wholesalers. “Two years ago we started with Easy by Primabel at the request of our customers,” David says. The cut vegetables are marketed under that brand name. “Demand for these products is still growing.” In these years, the volume tripled.
Dishes instead of bags
“We recently bought three new machines,” David says. A new production line was created with the new cleaning, cutting and weighing machine. The company has two lines especially for the fourth range. “One of these lines is for packing in bags, the other for packing in dishes,” David explains. Every year, 450,000 products are packed on these lines. “We’ve seen demand shifting to dishes instead of bags,” he continues. David gives two reasons for this. Firstly, a dish can be filled better, so that the packaging is fuller. Secondly, customers prefer the presentation in dishes. “Lettuce and lettuce mixes are often packed in bags, because these can be filled better with lettuce.”
“We supply our products in Belgium and part of France, but Belgium is our larger market,” David says. Within their range, demand for stir-fry vegetables, for example, is increasing. Diced courgette and pumpkin were recently added to the assortment. “We also do promotions for vegetables for mussels.” This vegetable mix is particularly popular during the mussel season, but because the season is getting longer and the shellfish are available year-round, mussel vegetables will become a permanent part of the assortment. “Mussels are popular throughout Belgium, not just on the coast,” David knows. “We mostly supply in Wallonia, mussels are on the shelves there as well.”
Recipes for name recognition
To bring more attention to the wholesaler’s brands, the company is active on social media, and they place recipes on their website. That way, all of the company’s labels are promoted. Besides Easy by Primabel, this includes Primabel for packed fresh products. “We employ someone to help us develop recipes,” David says.
Besides the fresh cut vegetables, fresh cut fruit has also been added to their range. Sliced pineapple, for instance, is offered in dishes. “There’s more and more demand for convenience products such as grilled bell pepper, courgette or aubergine as well. It’s important to offer a combination of fresh and processed products. That’s how we can offer a fuller supply on supermarket shelves,” David concludes.