“Thanks to the low yields this year in Europe, the potato season is ending quietly,” according to Hervé Lecouffe of Maison Lecouffe. “Many producers had contracts, and there are very few volumes left on the free market. At the same time, the demand is good and regular on the domestic market, and prices are high for all product types.”
Maison Lecouffe commercializes 20,000-25,000 tons of French potatoes annually. They are sold in France, Spain and Eastern Europe. The company’s French clients are large retailers and wholesalers. “For our clients, it is difficult to raise the selling prices. Markets react quickly to an increase in prices, and it is difficult to raise prices abruptly. It really takes time for the client to react.”
Spain asks for quality products
For products of the highest quality, the demand comes mostly from large Spanish retailers. In Spain, those products do not exist, so they have always been buying a lot of Agata, Caesar and friable varieties. Their standards are very high,” explains Hervé. According to him, Eastern European countries are also interested in those products.
Hervé Lecouffe, Yuliana Avsievich and Pierre-Yves Tondreau at Fruit Logistica
Land and Tradition
For about 15 years, Maison Lecouffe has been commercializing potatoes under its own brand “Land and Tradition”. “We use this brand for the whole line in boxes of 12.5 kg. It is a brand that our clients are familiar with. Their customers are used to it and ask for this brand.”
Maison Lecouffe is a family business created in 1902 by the great-grandfather of Hervé Lecouffe. The company is specialized in the trading and packaging of potatoes, and also markets onions and potato seeds. A year and a half ago, the company made significant investments to improve its packaging center. “Our goal is to increase productivity and to offer a large range of packagings,” explains Hervé. The company also invested in human resources, hiring Pierre-Yves Tondreau as commercial and Mohamed Chemloul for the quality department. In June, the company should obtain the IFS certification.