Marc Giraud, Coopenoix:

“French walnut harvest: a qualitative, well-organized and responsible production”

The walnut harvest has recently started in France. And this year, the Coopenoix cooperative, which counts 300 members and 3,300 hectares of walnut trees, is expecting a nice harvest both in terms of quantity and quality. “We are just beginning the harvest of Grenoble walnuts, which should last until October 17th. The current weather conditions are not optimal, but overall, the harvest is going quite well. This year, we are expecting a good harvest in terms of volumes, with approximately 6,500 tons. The quality is good, and calibers are rather average this year,” explains Marc Giraud, director of the Coopenoix cooperative.

This year looks much more promising than last year when the consequences of the 2019 weather events had impacted the harvest, which had reached around 5,000 tons.

“Most of the French walnut production is now sensible”
Today, the walnut production in the southeast of France is well organized. “We observe a specialization of the farms, making walnut production the leading crop in the region. Additionally, the producers are very involved with environmental issues. Almost all the production is now conducted in a sensible manner. We no longer practice systematic applications on all the orchards. There is a major awareness which generates consideration for the potential environmental impact of walnut production,” explains Marc Giraud.

“Our main strength lies in the quality of our products and services”
For several years already in France, considerable efforts have been made on walnut quality. “The quality of our products is one of our main assets. Particular attention is paid to the flavor and taste of the walnuts we offer. We also make sure that the services we offer are of optimal quality. One of our strengths is that we deliver quickly to our clients while being very reactive on the marketing and industrial level. Our delivery delays in Europe are therefore very short, within 3-4 days after receiving the order.” We have a packaging capacity of 140 tons per day.

“In France, we are lucky to have very reactive and efficient production means on our farms. All the operations are mechanized, except for the manual sorting operation, which allows us to be very fast, especially in harvesting and drying the nuts, therefore increasing the quality of the product.” A highly competitive European market
Today, walnut production in France - Europe’s leading producer - is faced with fierce competition from countries like the United States and Chili. “Historically or newly producing countries see their production increase each year. These are mostly exporting countries, which are very interested in the European market, due to the high population and purchasing power. They therefore penetrate the European market with a very large offer. This is one of the main challenges we are facing at the moment. However, the French walnut has its market. Our clients know what the French production implies at the environmental and qualitative level. Its reputation allows it to keep its market share on this increasingly competitive market.”

“In France, the market is stable and slightly increasing”
In France, as well as in Europe, the consumption of walnuts in-shell is rather stable, even slightly increasing. “However, we observe an increase in the consumption of shelled walnuts. But there again, the competition from producing countries outside of Europe is quite strong.”

“Our particularity: all the processing operations from walnuts in-shell to shelled walnuts are carried out at the Vinay site.”
“It is the particularity of Coopenoix. We have a tool for breaking, shelling and optical sorting, which is located at our site in Vinay, and all the operations are carried out there. We then proceed to manual sorting right before packaging. Besides helping us gain in efficiency, this organization allows us to offer our clients guaranteed product traceability,” explains Marc Giraud.

The cooperative’s certifications
Today, the Coopenoix cooperative benefits from the IFS certification, and many producers are certified Global GAP, and some are in the process of obtaining the HEV (High Environmental Value) certification. “As for the organic production, it now represents 11% of our total production, and we have good development prospects for the organic walnut in the coming years.”

For more information:
Christine Bonnet
75 avenue de la Noix de Grenoble
38470 Vinay, France
Phone: +33 (0)4 76 36 95 21
Fax: +33 (0)4 76 36 63 69  

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