When people want the product, price is never a problem

France: Prince de Bretagne focuses on quality

It's always a struggle to get people to eat more vegetables, and with consumers facing ever-increasing options when they get to the market, vegetable growers and shippers might be tempted to compete on price to improve sales. But as one of France's leading producers of cauliflower, Prince de Bretagne has firmly held onto the idea that quality & innovation will ultimately lead to success.

“The main problem with cauliflower is not the way you sell it but how you help people to eat it more,” said Emmanuel Descloux, marketing director for Prince de Bretagne. “It's been a big issue in Europe because for the past ten years there's been a lot of communication that people ought to eat more vegetables, but people are still eating the same amount of vegetables.” That's could be a problem for Prince de Bretagne, since, with 20,000 hectares of production in the Brittany region, cauliflowers are their biggest product.

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“Quality is one part of the solution. It’s very important because the consumer chooses the product with his eyes. Innovation is the other. We tried a lot of different presentations for cauliflower in the past ten years. The one working is the more is the traditional one. So we decided to insist more on the traditional aspect of the cauliflower. For this Christmas we’ll launch a new presentation with a little squared box in wood (1 box = 1 big head of cauliflower). The idea is that the consumer will take the cauliflower with the box. After eating the cauliflower he will be able to use the box as a storage case The case give also the impression that it’s an unique product.”

With 2,350 growers working in a cooperative that's entering its fifth decade of existence, Prince de Bretagne has always prioritized quality of product; and that's something they don't want to lose as they look for better ways to sell cauliflower, said Descloux.

“We know we have competition, and we know we have always to be the best possible,” he said. “and we don’t want to change our policies.” Where competitors may sometimes offer lower prices and more uniform pricing throughout the season with a lower quality. Descloux is insistent that they don’t want compete on that level.

“Our product is completely linked to the weather,” he said. “Our product is living, so the price is going to be linked to the weather.” That inextricable link between field conditions and market price means that consumers are guaranteed high quality. Because Prince de Bretagne is a cooperative made up of independent growers, they cannot send down any dictates, and that means that the price of their products always reflects the balance between the weather and the demand.

“We are really six cooperatives,” explained Descloux. “Those six make up CERAFEL, of which Prince de Bretagne is a part, and there we have 25 departments.” Every department is dedicated to a produce line, and while each department is charged with marketing the particular product, the growers always have the final word.

“What's really original about our system is that we, as marketer of Prince de Bretagne propose things and the growers decide,” said Descloux. “The growers are in charge.” That large amount of autonomy in the system extends to the shippers and exporters who handle the vegetables after they leave the growers' farms. Because everyone is, ultimately, independent and responsible. The arrangement means that consumers always pay for what they want which is linked to the weather conditions and the quality of the product so we try to have the best possible.

“We can’t go to fixed price at the production level. The amount of cauliflower available is linked to the weather as well as to the demand of the consumer: when it’s cold everyone wants to eat cauliflower, cabbages and so on. And when the winter is too mild you have more product but people do not want to eat them.“

To that end, he mentioned that they continually work to create more efficiencies, and they're always looking for ways to improve their products further. But any advancements have to be tempered by a fundamental commitment to quality which has shaped their company throughout its existence.

“We want to conserve our way of growing and selling,” he said. “We want to conserve our policy of quality.”

Emmanuel Descloux
Prince de Bretagne
Kerisnel - 29250 St Pol de Léon
Tel: +33 (0) 2 98 69 39 05
Mob: +33 (0) 6 62 92 39 00

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