The producer and distributor of fruit and vegetables has recorded an annual growth of 13% in France, a great performance obtained by focusing on product innovation and stronger commitments to sustainable development. Created in 1886, Del Monte is one of the most emblematic brands of the sector. Loyal to this heritage, the Fresh Del Monte group is now a leading producer and it also ensures the packaging, processing when necessary (fresh cut, cans), transportation and marketing of its products through its partner wholesalers and distributors. Established in France since 2012, near Rungis, it has recorded a double-digit growth in France for all its selections of fresh and long-life fruits.
Renewed taste for fresh products
It is clear that in 2020, French consumers have regained a taste for fresh products, households having bought 173.6 kg on average in a year. The lockdowns, a return to healthy pleasures and the desire to take care of one’s health and diet have largely contributed to this development.
As an undisputed global player in the distribution of exotic fruits, Fresh Del Monte has embraced this renewed interest in fresh fruit and vegetables with an offer based on quality and innovation. From the field to the consumer, by relying on traditional and specialized French distributors, Fresh Del Monte controls all stages of the chain. A process which allows for exemplary traceability and a perfect understanding of the logistics of its activities. This makes Del Monte one of the rare actors which produces, packages, transports, “ripens” and “puts on the market”. With quality at the heart of its logo, preoccupations and crop choices, the group has long been opting for a selection of soils and seeds. Innovation to satisfy the aspirations in taste and nutrition of increasingly demanding consumers. For example, the success of its Gold® Extra Sweet pineapple, emblematic illustration of the group’s approach. Fresh Del Monte stands out on the market with this exclusive fruit from Central America and Eastern Africa (Kenya), recognized for its sustainable production and commitment in favor of the education and professional development of women in these countries.
Precut fruits are a real hit
In parallel, the group has seen a steady progression in France of the pre-cut fruits, ready for consumption. “We have real expertise in this area and we bring to our clients selected fruits that are cut and packaged in trays of 125g or buckets of 1.5kg in clean rooms that are 90% automated,” explains Eric Hellot, general manager of Del Monte France. The weight of this new offer has quadrupled in 6 years, with supermarkets now dedicating entire sections to this type of products. Del Monte has signed a partnership with Carrefour and recorded a growth of 30% for its range of products, which the group wants to expand from next year with several references including L’Original™. Voted Flavor of the Year 2021, this pineapple, premium variety Del Monte Gold®, very sweet and juicy, is grown in the company’s Costa-Rican farms. It benefits from an exceptional terroir, an ideal climate and a historical know-how developed by the Fresh Del Monte farming teams. The result of a lot of work and important mobilization of the teams, in Costa Rica and Europe, this Original™ pineapple marks a major step in the concretization of Fresh Del Monte’s environmental policy.
N°1 in canned pineapple
On the traditionally stagnant market of canned fruit, the Del Monte sales have also increased significantly, in a context where the group has integrated all its activities on long-life fruit and tomatoes (organic or conventional production) on the French market. This new organization is supported by the arrival of Grégory Partouche as the sales director for these activities and the pre-cut fruit. With more than 20 years of experience in different areas of the food industry, Mr Partouche intends to further accelerate the visibility of the brand in these categories. According to the IRI GMS 2021 panel, Del Monte is the only major national brand to grow (+3%) with a revenue for “canned fruit in syrup” of 5 million euros [5.6 million USD] this year, mainly thanks to its sales of pineapples (slices or pieces) and apricots. By processing the fruit from its own plantations and orchards on site, the group is a leader in France in “pineapple in juice” with a 14% market share and has experienced record sales of +4% on fruits over the past 12 months (source: IRI France panel, GMS moving year-to-date Sept 21).
Local actor, global leader
With its sense of innovation and products that are recognized for their quality, Fresh Del Monte is demonstrating more than ever its vitality on the French market and announcing an important plan of innovation and marketing investments for 2022 with, for example, the launch of its new brand platform. Deployed at the global level, it aims at promoting the commitments of the group in terms of sustainable development on the entire value chain. The company has virtuously integrated a cleaner production, transportation with reduced carbon footprint and a more responsible distribution of its products. Its objectives are strict regarding the reduction of food waste and the transition of plastic packaging. As a reminder, Fresh Del Monte is the first company of the sector to join the United Nations' Science Based Target Initiatives (SBTI) in 2020ii.
"Climate action is our top priority," assured Hans Sauter, CSO of the group at the head of the largest banana farm certified Carbon Neutral in 2015. Today, all the bananas grown by Fresh Del Monte in Costa Rica and 75% of the pineapples it grows and sells in North America and Europe come from Carbon Neutral farms. “This is validation of the seriousness and transparency of the group towards the carbon neutrality program and it contrasts with the sometimes unfounded promises in a sector that needs virtuous transformation models like the one operated by Fresh Del Monte,” explains Eric Hellot, general manager of Del Monte France.
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