Alongside their partners, agri-food giant McCain, has developed an initiative to collect unsold merchandise from producers in order to make soup.
Their first such experience was 4 years ago in Colombia where they developed a program supporting producers distanced from their land by drug traffickers. “We work directly with the agricultural world,” explains Jean Bernou, President of McCain France, “it is our duty to create something different, to have an effect on the land”.
On the Leprince farm in Béhagnies they created a new company that will sell a range of products made of uncalibrated merchandise (too small, too lumpy…) that is refused in commerce. The idea is to recruit a few employees from the Pole Emploi (French employment agency) or locally, who all collect merchandise, mainly potatoes, from a dozen or so farms around Bapaume.
The cargo is then sent to Templeuve, to Thomas Pocher’s Leclerc laboratory where other employees will process the vegetables into soups, where they will be sold under the brand “BON et bien” (Well and good). The product will be of a good quality and the workers hired under 6-18 month contracts. This project will begin in March 2015.
Due to the agri-food sector only offering calibrated products, enormous wastage occurs. On Ghislain Leprince’s farm, where the “BON et bien” initiative was launched, 8-10,000 tons of potatoes are produced annually, of which 2,000 tons are not up to par at sorting. In chicory farming almost 50% of production does not make it to the shelves. It is estimated that in France, no less that 150kg per capita per year of edible foodstuff is wasted . The solution is therefore to develop processing circuits for such merchandise where the quality remains excellent.
In figures :
“BON et bien” was created by 5 partners : McCain, Randstad, Leclerc, the food bank and Gappi.
5 employees will be recruited for the first month of activity.
40 tons of potatoes will be harvested the first year, and at least 20 tons of chicory, onion and carrot.
Ten or so producers around Bapaume will be included in the first collections.
300 litres of soup will be produced daily in the production unit in Templeuve over 200 m².