France: a three-way offer on the fruit and vegetable shelves

In recent years, the fruit and vegetable sector has taken on a three-dimensional orientation, with the emergence of a third way. The labels Cultivated without Pesticides1 and Zero Pesticide Residue have managed to find their place on a market usually marked by a sharp distinction between the organic and conventional offer.

Savéol, cooperative from Brittany located in the Finistere since 1962, decided to take a chance with Cultivated without Pesticides1, a label which best reflects their commitment to an eco-responsible approach.

From an internal observation of technical performances to a range Cultivated without Pesticides1
Composed of 120 producers from the Finistere and 2,500 employees, the Savéol cooperative covers 219 hectares of tomatoes and 47 hectares of strawberries. While the new eco-responsible labels now regularly make the headlines, the commitment of the cooperative for this approach is not new. “This is truly part of a long-standing progress initiative. Since 1963, we have integrated an insect farm within the cooperative. Now called Savéol Nature, it is exclusive to our producers and represents a valuable tool, very responsive to the evolution of diseases and pests. This way, we can avoid the use of chemical treatments as much as possible. Of this internal observation was born this desire to go further by highlighting these efforts for the consumer. The range of tomatoes Cultivated without Pesticides1 was created in 2015 and it currently represents nearly 10% of our offer,” explains Claire Malgorn, in charge of customer marketing at Savéol.

A range that Savéol aspires to develop
“This year, we have performed conclusive tests on a range of gariguette strawberries Cultivated without Pesticides1. Although the first volumes are confidential, they are the embodiment of major progress for the fruit and vegetable sector. This approach must be carried out collectively within the cooperative. The producers, agronomists, quality service and even the packaging stations must all be involved in order to guarantee to the consumer a product that is cultivated without pesticides1, from the blossom to the plate, including the packaging.”

Major communication plan to familiarize consumers with label
“1 consumer out of 4 buys third-way fruits,” says Claire. The interest for these eco-responsible certifications keeps growing, but some fear that the emergence of these new labels weakens the message for the general public.

That is why Savéol has invested a lot to set up a major communication plan which aims to inform the consumer about the implications of this approach. “We explain to the consumer the characteristics of the Cutivated without pesticides1 label, which guarantees that no synthetic treatment is used during the entire production process. We also explain the Zero pesticide residue which ensures the absence of residue on the final product. So we are one step ahead. In order to make this distinction clear for the consumer, we have communicated a lot on our website, via social networks and more directly in supermarkets. A study from 2018 by CTIFL has proven that the “Cultivated without Pesticides1” label is the number one reason to buy third-way products. All the producers of the cooperative are committed to the PBI (Integrated Biocontrol), which favors biocontrol products and insects on all “our crops, including the conventional range,” explains Claire. 

“We want to introduce our brand in Spain and Italy”
According to Patricia Dinahey, the range Cultivated without Pesticides1 of Savéol has been successful in France because the market is receptive to environmental issues, but also thanks to the cooperative’s reputation. “We are fortunate to have a brand that enjoys a quality image and is recognized. Three French consumers out of four are now familiar with the Savéol brand.”

The cooperative does not want to limit its range Cultivated without Pesticides1 to the French territory but intends to export it as well. “Currently, 10% of our revenue comes from abroad. We are growing in Germany, Italy, Ireland, Austria, Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium and England with this promise of taste that characterizes our brand. We even exported our range Cultivated without Pesticides1 to Hong Kong. We now wish to introduce it on the Spanish and Italian markets where there is a definite interest from the consumer and large retailers for products without Pesticides1. But unlike France, these markets are not fully mature. It will therefore be necessary to make the range and our approach known,” concludes Patricia.

For more information: 
Patricia Dinahet
77 Rue du Père Gwenaël
29470 Plougastel Daoulas
Phone:+33(0) 2 98 40 08 86  

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