Antoine Frain, Manager Fruit and Vegetables at Biodis

“The vegetables from Bay of Mont Saint-Michel's organic range benefit from a unique terroir in Europe”

As a wholesaler and distributor of organic products for nearly 35 years and located in Noyal-Châtillon-sur-Seiche (near Rennes), Biodis offers more than 7,000 various references that include fresh fruit and vegetables. The company has launched its new organic brand from the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, with almost 15 references including the carrot, its flagship product, in various colors, as well as savoy cabbage, red and white cabbage, potatoes, beets, turnips, celeriac, parsnips and yellow, pink and red onions. 

“This brand is first and foremost the story of a meeting. When we learned that a producer was converting, we decided to include him as one of our suppliers. Then, another converted and that is when the idea came to create the organic brand of the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel,” explains Antoine Frain.

Particular specifications
For more security towards consumers than the traditional organic range, the company created particular specifications together with the producers. “We have been accompanying the producers from organic conversion to marketing for 3 years now. Regarding the specifications, we wanted to go beyond what is already done for traditional organic productions. We do varietal selection but no CMS (cytoplasmic male sterility). We prefer to favor genuine varieties, depending of course on their adaptability to the land, in order to limit the risks and therefore bring some security to the producers. We are also looking for tasty varieties in order to have a range that contributes to the development of our diversity and fits into our rotation plan. We impose 5 vegetable and forage productions in the rotation plans in order to give the soil the time to regenerate and rest. The vegetables of the organic range from the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel benefit from a unique terroir in Europe because it is rich in sand, silt and clay, better known as ‘tangue’.”

A brand based on 4 pillars
The brand is first of all a specific method of cultivation to preserve the land. No steam weeding or thermal weeding. “The weeding takes place mechanically before the seedlings emerge, and everything else is done manually.” A method of cultivation that is organic, without pesticides or synthetic chemical fertilizers in order to preserve the health of the consumers. “The producers also limit their use of amendments, even natural ones. In the crop rotations, we try to integrate green fertilizers such as alfalfa for example to fix the nitrogen or drain the soil. We also limit the use of copper and manage to control all mildew and fungal diseases. Analyses are done regularly to monitor the presence of pesticides and the nitrate levels in the vegetables.”

The pleasure of eating well is another of the company’s priorities. By combining varieties of high taste quality made possible by varietal selection, with a particular soil, the products of the range benefit from a more pronounced and sweeter taste.

Another essential element is the social aspect of the organic brand from the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel. “As a wholesaler from Brittany, it is important to contribute to the local economy. We work on the price with the producers, we discuss the margins together. Transparency is a crucial point in the approach. Our goal is to give maximum value to the producers and their products, so anything that does not fit in the specifications will be valued by contracts with factories for processing. We also want to bring some stability to the producers in their investment so we always commit to buying a certain amount of merchandise.”

Positive feedback
It takes time to establish a brand in a niche segment, but the first marketing year has already seen some good feedback. “Very few of our clients are restaurants but we would like to work with ambassadors who might have an interest in communities.”

For more information: 
Antoine Frain (Manager Fruit and Vegetables)
6 rue René Panhard
35230 Noyal-Châtillon-sur-Seiche
Phone: 02 99 14 41 20 


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