Created in 1917, Pouliquen was a family business for three generations. In 2002, Gérard Quillévéré, the current manager, joined the company which is part of the Demex group. Back then, Pouliquen only worked with traditional shallots and sold 3,400 tons a year. In 2003, the company widened its range to other vegetables (cabbage, artichokes, tomatoes, older vegetables…). Then, in 2006, a major shift was made with the automation of the production and the development of packaging in 250g and 500g.
The group is largely present in Europe and beyond (United States, Singapore). In 2018, Gérard Quillevéré, manager for over 15 years, bought the company and partnered up with Pascal Jaouen, who specializes in large-scale export.
Traditional shallot specialist in Europe with 10,000 tons sold in 2020, Pouliquen also sold 10,000 tons of vegetables, all produced by Prince de Bretagne producers.
Increase in shallot demand
The consumption of shallots has increased strongly in 2020 and 2021. “It is a very peculiar season. We experienced a strong increase in shallot consumption last year which coincided with very low volumes (8,500 tons instead of the usual 10,000 tons, because of the spring weather). Consumers started cooking again and therefore looked for dishes out of the ordinary. Many realized that shallots were present in a number of recipes. It’s unheard of this year: the season is coming to an end and there’s no merchandise left. This has not happened since 2008. At the moment, producer prices are very high, at nearly 4.30 euros [5.21 USD],” explains Gérard Quillévéré.
New building: modernity and quality
This spring 2021, Pouliquen is moving one step further in its development, with the completion of a new building in Cléder (Finistère).
Photo provided by Pouliquen
This construction was driven by the need to meet the new quality specifications, thus the requirements of the IFS and Global Gap Broker certifications. This way, Pouliquen ensures traceability and food safety to its clients. The work was also guided by a desire for the company to offer better working conditions to its employees with the acquisition of a new palletizing robot reducing the carrying of heavy loads and helping to preserve the health of the employees by guaranteeing a service of quality throughout the year.
The company now has 300 m² of offices and 2,200 m² of production area. A special unit of 500 m² was also created for the packaging of shallots and organic vegetables in order to meet the double demand from consumers who choose more and more for organic products, and from the Prince de Bretagne producers who are increasingly converting to organic productions each year.
Pouliquen was able to grow over the past decades in order to follow market evolutions, as well as customer expectations. Present in France for over a century, Pouliquen guarantees to many Prince de Bretagne producers the marketing of their vegetables, thus the perpetuation of their agricultural activities. By relying on quality and mutual trust, the company ensures the development of the land while meeting its clients’ most stringent requirements.