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48 hours in Bordeaux

48 hours in Bordeaux © Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution

The micro-events were very diverse, with attendees invited to notably visit an endive cultivation inside an old German blockhouse. /// © Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution

 

On the last weekend of April, Bordeaux put on its finest clothes to celebrate 48 hours of urban agriculture (48h de l’agriculture urbaine). 

It must seem strange to read this news when France is still under lockdown, yet the event was quite legal, with 2,000 citizens allowed to discover agriculture in its many forms. “The event, which we have been planning since November 2020, was able to continue because we divided it into 60 micro-events scattered throughout the city, and a lot of them were outdoors,” said Marie-Agathe Widlöcher, one of the organisators. It was also necessary to meet strict sanitary conditions, which meant that almost every event received no more than six people, including the facilitator, with reservations made beforehand and mask-wearing was mandatory. 

It was the event’s third edition in Bordeaux after a two-year gap. Marie-Agathe Widlöcher explained that they had been planning to “do it differently from previous years, long before the second and third waves of the pandemic. For example, several associations of shared gardens, farms or agri-food professionals were contacted to make direct visits to their workplaces.”

Salomon Mouawad of the association Les incroyables comestibles said: “The goal is to reconnect people to nature just as they connect to their WiFi by raising awareness of the soil and its properties.” That’s why his association opened its doors to the shared garden it had been taking care of to show it off to city-dwellers for a weekend. 

Marie-Agathe Widlöcher was also pleased to receive the support of the Chamber of Urban Agriculture, Agrobio Gironde and La Ruche qui dit Oui !, which connect them with various players in the food chain.

Farmers turn out for the rendezvous

“Our goal is to connect farmers and citizens, so the latter can gain a better understanding of the food cycle right down to when it arrives on their plates. The cycle from production to purchasing might involve the MIN* of Bordeaux or a solidarity grocery store in the neighbourhood,” said Widlöcher. The events were very diverse, with attendees invited to visit La ferme de Pauline in Lormont, Le jardin de Quentin in Eysines (a traditional farm), or an endive cultivation inside an old German blockhouse. “Farmers were very interested in the event because they want citizens to have a better understanding of their work. We would have liked to have had more farmers contributing to the event, but it is a big time for them and not everyone was able to attend. As they were micro-events of half an hour or an hour, this facilitated their participation. And we are already very grateful to all those who were able to take part,” said Widlöcher. 

Multi-scale support

48 hours of urban agriculture is a national-scale event that is organised differently depending on the city. La SAUGE operates coordinates the various events up and down the country from its headquarters in Paris to ensure global communication on the internet and social networks. The organisers of this festival hope the event will spread to the international sphere, with editions in Spain or Belgium, as several groups in each country have expressed an interest in participating. 

 

*wholesale market for perishable food and horticultural products
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France declares “agricultural disaster” as country deals with aftermaths of frosts 

France declares “agricultural disaster” as country deals with aftermaths of frosts 
Photo by rfi.fr // After visiting a farm in Ardèche, in south-eastern France, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced plans to remove caps on compensation for agricultural disasters.

The unseasonal frosts that struck France last week are expected to have the most severe impact on the country’s agriculture in recent memory. Crops in large parts of the country face costly damage, including Bordeaux, Burgundy, the  Rhône Valley and  Provence. Grapes, kiwifruit, apricots, and apples are among the crops most affected. The bitter frost struck suddenly after a bout  of warm  weather, which  worsened the  damage.

French agriculture minister Julien Denormandi said: “This is probably the  greatest agricultural catastrophe of the  beginning of the  21st  century. Several hundreds of thousands of hectares have  been impacted.

Daniel  Sauvaitre, president of the  National Apple Pear Association (ANPP), told AFP: “Peaches, nectarines and  apricots will not be easy  to find on the  shelves this  year. The challenge is to know if there are  enough flowers left that are  still green to get  a harvest. And it’s only mid-April,  there could  still be frost  until  early  May.”

 

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Large French potato crop

Large French potato crop

France’s 2020 potato crop is up 3.4% from last year, reaching approximately 6.75 million tons, according to data published by the UNPT-CNIPT. The volume is 1.1% above the 5-year average. Acreage has expanded 1.4% to 154,900 ha. Average gross yield is around 43.6 ton/ha, which is better than last year, and slightly above the 5-year average. However, the current pandemic is likely to have a severe impact on the success of the campaign, with demand down in the food service channel.

 

 

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Aldi to close 31 Leader Price stores in France

Aldi to close 31 Leader Price stores in France © Lionel Allorge, Wikipédia
© Lionel Allorge, Wikipédia

 

According to the CGT union, the 240 employees working in these stores will be reclassified elsewhere.

This decision comes after the takeover by Aldi of the Leader Price franchise from the French giant Casino during last November. The stores concerned are to often be sold to other companies, for various reasons like a too close proximity to Aldi brand’s stores or a too strong competition in the sector.

The CGT union fears the start of a larger store closure for Leader Price franchise. According to the union, almost 1,500 stores might be targeted by potential closures in the coming months. In the context of coronavirus, the announcement of closure, more or less large, has the obvious consequence of creating anxiety, among employees and in the sector.

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17% of France’s specialist organic stores owned by major retailers

17% of France’s specialist organic stores owned by major retailers © Claire Tillier

© Claire Tillier

 

France’s leading 100% organic brands Biocoop, Naturalia and La Vie Claire performed very well in 2019, thanks to continued store openings and increasingly aggressive communication. However, smaller brands are suffering from the increasingly fierce competition.

According to a study published by Les Échos Études on the distribution of organic food products in France, a steady growth rate is predicted over the next five years. Enthusiasm for organic products remains strong, as has been the case for the past decade, during which the market for organic products registered double-digit annual growth. Organics are now firmly part of the habits of French consumers, with 47% of them being regular consumers of organic products in 2019, compared to 37% in 2015.

The strengthening of eco-responsible practices during the Covid-19 crisis has benefited the organic sector, with strong growth recorded across all distribution channels. Organic foods attracted 8% more new buyers during the lockdown period (source: Spirit Insight study for Agence Bio). However the economic downturn could dampen this enthusiasm, with the risk of price battles. The economic consequences of the health crisis are leading to more polarised consumption patterns, with consumers torn between the need to save money and a desire for more responsible and healthy consumption.

The French organic market is dominated by large-scale retailers and specialist organic stores. But in recent years, supermarkets have taken market share from the 100% organic brands. The organic range on offer in supermarkets has grown considerably. In 2019, large-scale retail accounted for nearly 55% of revenues generated from sales of organic food products. Meanwhile, the major retailers have also strengthened their position in the specialist organic channels through their own brands, launching new concepts such as Casino Bio at the end of 2019 or Le Marché Bio Leclerc in 2018, or by buying out existing players, as in the case where Carrefour took over So.bio in 2018 and Bio c’ Bon in 2020. As of 2019, 17% of France’s specialist organic stores were owned by major retailers.

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Pink Lady® sets off on tour across France

Pink Lady® sets off on tour across France © Pink Lady®
PINKIDS © Pink Lady®

 

To launch the new season, Pink Lady® will crisscross France to meet its partner wholesalers in wholesale markets and open-air markets in 10 cities. This unprecedented tour, which will begin on November 5 and will run for 5 weeks, will announce the launch of the French harvest and allow Pink Lady® to anchor itself a little more in the local landscape.

The implemented system is designed to provide partner wholesalers with the necessary communication tools, including:

– A POS Kit to highlight the presence of Pink Lady® and increase its visibility. This kit will be personalised with a badge dedicated to the colours of the city;

– An animation kit to create events with the presence of a facilitator. Tastings of Pink Lady® apples and 100% winning scratch card distributions will attract and encourage interaction with customers;

– A retailer kit that will allow wholesalers to reward their best customers who will be able, in turn, to promote the French harvest in stores.

In order to strengthen its visibility in open-air markets, Pink Lady® will have a vehicle branded in the colours of Pink Lady®, with the dedicated badge of each city to promote the brand.

This large-scale event will enable Pink Lady® to strengthen its status as a partner with wholesalers, develop its visibility and volumes, and promote customer loyalty.

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French retail takes on Amazon

French retail takes on Amazon

Photo: Auchan Retail

French retailers Intermarché, Auchan and Carrefour are seeking to stave off the imminent threat of Amazon by facilitating access to their digital platforms and pick-up points for small independent retailers, according to a report by Retail Detail. Carrefour is specifically supporting independent food stores, while Intermarché and Auchan are supporting independent bookstores, clothes stores and toy stores by opening up their e-commerce sites and pick-up points to small shops. Carrefour is offering free access to its marketplace and an “accelerated digitisation solution with the support of its partner Mirakl”. The retailer stressed the importance of its long-term partnerships with growers. 

A press release by Carrefour stated: “Through its Quality Channels, Carrefour has been weaving partnerships with French producers for nearly 30 years to guarantee them a level of price and volume over several years in return for their commitment to provide fresh, tasty products that are good for health and the environment. Today, Carrefour is proud to already have more than 18,000 long-term partners, to the delight of our customers, who can be sure that they will find something good to eat in our stores. But France’s agriculture is full of talent and that’s why Carrefour is today appealing to all fruit and vegetable producers who have not yet joined our shelves.”

Intermarché ran an ad last week in a French newspaper stating: “Sorry Amazon. From Monday, all those who, like us, wish to support local commerce will once again be able to buy their books from their bookseller.”

 

 

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SIVAL Expo showcases specialty crops in France

SIVAL Expo showcases specialty crops in France © SIVAL
© SIVAL

 

SIVAL Expo, the trade fair for horticultural, cidricultural and medicinal crops, will take place over 3 days from Tuesday 12th January to Thursday 14th January 2021 in Angers, France. The event will showcase the products of leading agricultural machinery manufacturers in agriculture & forestry, chemicals & dyes, hand, machine & garden tools, and medical & pharmaceutical industries. A complete multi-sector offering will include tillage, plant protection products, packaging, and more; an offering that addresses the agricultural issues of tomorrow laboratories, waste management recycling, and organic products. Sival brings together everyone who counts from the world of horticulture, viticulture, arboriculture and vegetable growing. It is the leading trade fair for speciality crops in France and the best place where producers come to find the keys to their future success and a platform for communication and a forum for exchanging ideas.

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France, the first export market for Ukraine

France, the first export market for Ukraine

For the first time, France became the largest export market for Ukrainian fruit, berries and nuts, reported the analytics of EastFruit agency. The volume of shipments has grown by 9% comparing to 2019, and amounted to $12.2 million. The basic commodities are walnut (+19% comparing to 2019), frozen wild blueberry and frozen raspberry.

The second largest importer is now Poland; it has increased by 12% its import from Ukraine, mostly with frozen raspberry and walnut. Another top-three leader is Germany; it imported walnut, frozen wild berries, dry fruit, frozen raspberry and strawberry valued $6.7 million.

Turkey used to be the second large trade partner of Ukraine, mainly for the supplies of walnut, but it decreased its import in 2020.

More info

https://east-fruit.com/article/frantsiya-vpervye-stala-glavnym-rynkom-sbyta-dlya-fruktov-i-orekhov-iz-ukrainy-v-2020-godu

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Auchan announces steps to complete transition

Auchan announces steps to complete transition

Auchan France has laid out its plans to implement the key initiatives established in the 2022 transformation plan. According to Auchan Retail France’s chief executive, Jean-Denis Deweine, the retailer is to focus on five strategic priorities:

  • Improve the offer: with more focus on local and exclusive or artisanal products and private labels

  • Update its hypermarkets

  • Develop digital proximity through the opening of further Drives and pedestrian Drives

  • Evolve the supply chain

  • Transform business models to adapt to new tools, ways of working and jobs

Deweine highlighted the need for the hypermarket format to evolve to meet changing needs, and to play a central role in a multichannel strategy. The format could support other stores, with space used to prepare fresh products for Auchan’s supermarkets or used as fulfilment centres for home deliveries. Further space could be reallocated to third party brands, as has been happening recently.

In a bid to reduce reliance on its hypermarkets, Deweine said Auchan is working to lower the share of sales accounted for by the format to 50% by 2025, down from 75% today. This requires an accelerated pace of development and increased growth at its supermarkets and digital channels.

In H1 2020, 12% of Auchan France’s sales were accounted for by Drives or home delivery. Auchan plans to increase this share to 15% by 2022. More Drives will be opened in key urban areas, while Drives will be added to more hypermarkets and supermarkets too.