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Rungis, 50 years on: meet the wholesalers

At the beginning of 2019, the world’s largest market for agricultural products will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. Rungis covers an area of 234 hectares, a total of 1,200 wholesale companies, with 40,000 employees working every night on site. A true “city within the city”, a modern version of the historic Halles of Paris, also nicknamed the “stomach of Paris” by Emile Zola.

In order to celebrate this very special occasion, several events will be organized throughout the year. Among the most emblematic, the making of the largest table in the world. The MIN market is actually planning to break the world record of 342 meters in length, on March 17th, in order to feature in the Guinness book of records.

Some changes following the evolution of demand
Stanislas Henriot and Bertrand Raepsaet of the company Dynamis, one of the first organic operators on the MIN for almost 30 years, have observed an increase in the demand for organic products in the past 4 or 5 years. The famous Organic Pavillon (building D6), created 3 years ago, has been a great success at Rungis. Generally speaking, there is a tendency for the consumer to “search for a proximity, not necessarily in geography, but in the knowledge of the work of the producer.” And besides the certifications, this search leads to traceability requirements relating to origins and production.

“Rungis has kept its identity as an atypical market”
According to Didier Marques, general director of the company 3D Dona, present on the market for 25 years, the soul of Rungis has not changed. Of course, our facilities are a little more modern and we have incorporated the new technologies to our work and structures. We are also adapting to the evolution of society, which is accompanied with the emergence of new qualitative approaches, certifications and environmental standards, but the core of the market has not changed. It has kept the same traditional aspect as in the early days. Even the selling practices have not changed significantly. Our opening hours are the same, eye contact is key, customers travel, walking along the buildings to choose their products and negotiate prices, in order to select the best quality that meets their needs.”

“Rungis remains a unique market, like nowhere else in France or in Europe, because of its diversity but also the atmosphere it conveys. It’s a city that never sleeps, a market where friendships are made, and the game of human encounters that animated the market 50 years ago still lives on today. What I liked 25 years ago still gives me pleasure today. That’s why I am still here.”

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