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Benoît Carreau, Sica Gerfruit

“We must achieve taste excellence”

What is the place of French apples on international markets today? How does it stand out? What are the new challenges and consumer expectations? Between taste excellence, quality and innovation, Benoît Carreau, sales director of Mylord, shares his vision on the requirements that French apples must meet today. French apples have "a strong card to play" in order to maintain their position and conquer new markets.

Mylord is the brand name of Sica Gerfruit, a group of 10 families producing no less than 45,000 tons of apples a year on 850 hectares. Nestled in the heart of the Loire Valley, Sica Gerfruit's orchards are certified Bee Friendly and Eco-responsible Orchards. Part of the produce is grown organically, and all the production is grown in agroecology. Mylord exports to the UK, Spain, Benelux and Scandinavia, as well as to Germany, the company's historic market, via its Düsseldorf-based structure headed by Frank Berning. The Harmonie structure is in charge of exports.

This year, French apples enjoyed a "very dynamic start to the season," with better prices and sustained market demand thanks to empty stocks at the start of the season. The strong demand, which came later than last year, is accentuating the "shortage phenomenon". Another asset for the 2023/2024 campaign is the "much greater potential for quality and storage than last year, which has strongly encouraged exports." / Atypix - Sica Gerfruit

"Today's consumers want to enjoy every apple they buy"
Benoît Carreau has observed a shift in consumer trends in certain European markets, especially in Germany, the UK and Benelux countries, which are now very much oriented towards premium products. Quality is the priority! We need to achieve 100% consumer satisfaction. Today, consumers want to enjoy every kilo of apple they buy. In a context of purchasing power that is not sparing our European neighbors, "we have a duty to supply an impeccable product. A few years ago, the consumers who chose to buy organic products did so regardless of the quality. Today, they want a guarantee that there will be no loss, which has become the number one criterion for choice. If the product happens to be organic, then it is even better. French apples therefore appeal to British consumers "because they meet their requirements and expectations in terms of juiciness, sugar content, firmness and shelf-life."

© Atypix - Sica Gerfruit

"Improving the consumer experience"
The challenge facing French apples today is to "be the European apple of excellence, without becoming exclusive, falling into a niche segment and seeing markets shrink," explains Benoît Carreau. To achieve this goal, however, "it is necessary to maintain a strong qualitative promise and improve the consumer experience by striving for excellence in traditional and standard varieties." This quest for improvement is perfectly illustrated by the development of the Gala, which became Gala de Mylord in 2014. The priority remains "the search for consumer satisfaction and pleasure."

© Atypix - Sica Gerfruit

Staying competitive thanks to a "differentiating approach"
French apples are not renowned for their competitiveness, but they have nevertheless managed to stand out from the competition in the most demanding markets thanks to their taste, quality and also production methods. "French apples are not the cheapest to produce, and there are many legislative and social constraints, but they stand out thanks to a differentiating approach. This approach was initiated at the national level through the Eco-responsible Orchards label, created in 2010. "France has always tried to differentiate itself through taste, as well as agri-environmental initiatives. The Eco-responsible Orchards label makes such a difference: fruit of the highest quality, rich in taste and grown using methods that respect the environment and biodiversity. This is the kind of fruit that can bring satisfaction to consumers and increase sales. This added value has won over major export markets such as Asia. "Asian buyers do not hesitate to order French apples because they know they will not be disappointed with the product they buy."

For more information:
Benoit Carreau
SICA Gerfruit
Phone: +33 (0)2 43 38 11 67

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