Ribambelle, the vegetable specialist, is located in Monchy le Preux, near Arras, and sells a large selection of local products. 50% of their merchandise is cultivated within 60 miles. According to Jean-Pierre Dalle, commercial representative at Ribambelle, it is even more important to offer local products than to offer biological products. “That’s what customers want.”
The chicory represents 60-65% of the Ribambelle revenue. Most of the chicories are sold under the brand Perle du Nord, whose goal is to segment the chicory market, explains Jean-Pierre. “Chicory derivatives are doing very well on the French market. For the past five years, sales have doubled each year.”
“The Carmine is the sweetest derivative. There is also the Friseline, mostly sold in France, and the red chicory, which is more bitter, or the Barbucine. The latter can be eaten raw in salads or braised in the pan. This variety is being sold at the expense of the traditional chicory.”
Carmine, Friseline, Barbucine and red chicory
Arnaud Banz and Jean-Pierre Dalle, commercial representatives France/Export
Difficulties finding new chicory producers
According to Jean-Pierre, it is difficult to attract new chicory producers. “Prices have been good for the past few years, so producers don’t feel the need to change their distribution channels. This year, there is a 15% decrease in volumes because of the drought, but at the same time, prices increased by 30%.”
Up until now, the drought hasn’t had any influence on the chicory quality, but this could change between March 15th and June 15th. “It is difficult to predict how well the stored chicories will keep,” explains Jean-Pierre. “Besides, we are also afraid not to have enough roots for the next campaign.”
Another challenge for the chicory sector is that children do not take over their parents’ chicory production farms. “Young people don’t want to live in the countryside anymore. The sector is getting more industrialized. The big producers continue to grow, while the smaller ones disappear.”
Perle du Nord packaging
Croc’Nature is the premium brand of Ribambelle. Their chicories are sold 20 cents more than the regular chicories.
Cabbage volumes are increasing
For some years now, other products from the north of France, like the celeriac, or the white and red cabbage, have become more and more important in the range of Ribambelle products. Their volumes have increased by 5%, while the chicory volumes stay the same.
The 2018 novelty is a machine which cuts cabbages in half. After being cut, the product still has a shelf life of 10 days. “Visually, this gives us a very beautiful product which attracts the customers,” according to Jean-Pierre Dalle.
The cutting machine
Jean-Pierre shows the finished product
For more information:
Zone Artipole No. 1
BP 90040 Monchy le Preux
62051 Saint Laurent Blangy Cedex
Phone: +33 (0)3 21 157 161