French sweet potatoes are enjoying growing success. "Despite the fact that we are in direct competition with Spain, the French product sells easily and is well valued," says Denis Joud, Sales Director of Fruits Union. "Volumes remain small, but the demand is quite high.”
According to Denis, the French consumer is a little chauvinistic. "As soon as the French product is available, it is preferred, and bought. Proximity pleases the consumer more and more. "
Denis Joud and Arnaud Chaix at the Fruit Attraction show in Madrid
Difference with the American product
Sweet potatoes are on French stalls all year round and more and more consumers are buying them regularly. It is an easy product to cook and which has many dietary virtues. Currently, most of the sweet potatoes in France come from the United States. According to Denis, the biggest difference between the French product and the American product is that today the French sweet potato is much less preserved. "Therefore, it is much softer and easier to peel. In terms of taste, it is really very good. "
Zero pesticide residue
Fruits Union has been commercializing French sweet potatoes (the beauregard variety, with orange flesh) for four years in conventional and organic farming. "We are currently testing to further segment the product. We already have trays, bulk in organic and conventional, "says Denis. "Our goal is to market a product with zero pesticide residues next year. This will distinguish us from our competition. "
Sweet potatoes are grown in the south of the country, where pedoclimatic conditions are rather favorable. "However, we are still finalizing the technical process, because the production is delicate with the climate. We do not yet have enough volume for export and we want to satisfy the French market. Afterwards, we would like to export to nearby European countries. "
Fruits Union offers French sweet potatoes from mid-September to the end of December. "For the coming years, we want to improve our storage so we can offer French sweet potatoes until February or later."
In 2016, French production of sweet potatoes was estimated at around 4,000 tons. This year, Fruits Union will market approximately 600 to 700 tons. "We want to develop the product in terms of culture, and we need to recruit additional producers."