Thanks to Del Monte’s success with ready-cut fruit and vegetables, they are setting up their first processing factory in France. The American company will invest a total of €7 million in the site which will process 22 tons of raw materials a day. The fruit and vegetables that will be processed in the future factory in Croixrault (Somme) will include carrots, onions, cucumbers, aubergines, tomatoes, apples, pears and pineapples. 

The company will have about 150 employees by 2018 and 30 or so temporary workers. The factory will be supplied with production from 150 local farmers that will have multi-year contracts with Del Monte, of which the durations are still under negotiation. As for exotic fruits such as pineapples from Costa Rica, they will be delivered via neighbouring ports - notably Anvers which is directly accessible via the A16 or A1 motorways. Eric Hellot, President of Del Monte Fresh and Fresh Cut France says that “Croixrault is mid-way between our supply hubs and the Paris region, the main consumption zone. The speed of delivery is crucial in ensuring short best-before dates”. 

Pre-cut fruit and vegetables only achieved a mild success when tested ten years ago, but the market has developed and, following tests in Carrefour, almost all large retailers such as Intermarché and Leclerc have embraced the concept. According to estimations from the retailers, the pre-cut fruit and vegetable market could reach €300 million in 5 years. 

Del Monte has a worldwide €3.8 billion turnover, of which only €70 million is in France. The group has 40,000 employees.