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Rising visitor numbers at MedFEL 2017

From 25th to 27th April, Perpignan became the Mediterranean's agricultural capital when it hosted MedFEL, the only international fruit and vegetable event taking place in France.

Welcoming a grand total of 6,362 visitors, a 4% increase over the previous year, MedFEL 2017 fully met its targets. The 250 exhibitors and 120 international buyers recruited by Sud de France Développement brought fresh dynamism to this ninth edition, generating more than 5,000 B2B meetings

From 25th to 27th April, Perpignan became the Mediterranean’s agricultural capital when it hosted MedFEL, the only international fruit and vegetable event taking place in France.

Organised by the Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée Regional Council and enjoying the high patronage of the French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry for the sixth consecutive year, MedFEL 2017 shone the spotlight on the organic sector and SIQO (quality and origin identification labels)… a strategy that went down well with all the visiting professionals.

Innovation took centre stage at MedFEL 2017 with the very first edition of the Challenge FEL’INNOV by MedFEL. This was a competition aiming to find solutions designed to improve the performance of farming operations and companies working in the fruit and vegetable sector.
On the MedFEL TV podium, a panel of “fruit and vegetable” and “scientific” experts selected the most innovative solution following presentations delivered in a speed demo format.

These solutions were classified into two categories:

  • Smart farming from the field and throughout the logistics chain

– The winner: Agrishare for its WeFarmUp solution (based in the Haute-Garonne region)

  • Biocontrol and sustainable crop protection

– The winner: Nimaplants for its Aphid Protect solution (based in the Gard region)

– The Public’s Favourite: Portuguese company Asfert Global for its Kiplant Immass solution

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MedFEL 2017 pledges to attract 120 international buyers

MedFEL is due to take place on 25‐27 April 2017 at the Parc des Expositions in Perpignan.MedFEL is the only international fruit and vegetable event taking place in France. For three days. The international business gathering of the  sector will shine the spotlight on potatoes and sweet potatoes.

MedFEL 2017 is due to take place this April 25 to 27 at the Parc des Expositions in Perpignan. Organised by Sud de France Développement and the Occitanie/Pyrénées‐Méditerranée region, the international business gathering of the fruit and vegetable sector will shine the spotlight on potatoes and sweet potatoes.

MedFEL is the only international fruit and vegetable event taking place in France. For three days, Perpignan becomes the Mediterranean’s agricultural capital. Its main goal is to combine the entire French F&V offering with those of other countries around the Mediterranean (Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Morocco etc.).

MedFEL is strengthening its pivotal role in developing the fruit and vegetable business in the international arena by scheduling even more B2B meetings. In 2017, Sud de France Développement plans to redouble its efforts to recruit international buyers, targeting a contingent of 120 buyers from across the globe. Selection of these buyers will be consistent with the entire MedFEL offering. 6,122 visitors converged on Perpignan for the fair’s 8th edition along with 246 exhibitors from the Mediterranean basin, generating a total of over 2,948 B2B meetings.

For this 9th edition, MedFEL is debuting some major innovations: The organic fruit and vegetable offering, including products awarded an official quality label, is significantly larger and will be promoted more effectively by means of dedicated signage and presentations.

MedFEL is extending its harvest forecasts for French and in some cases European crops, covering a high proportion of overall production. In addition to the outlook for apricots, melons and peaches, this year will feature harvest forecasts for cherries, plums, grapes,

strawberries, carrots, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers.

On day 3 of the fair, MedFEL is placing its expertise at the service of exhibiting businesses by organising a job dating event. In collaboration with the region’s main training schools, companies can meet a selection of candidates whose profiles match the sector’s


MedFEL will also adopt a more ambitious format by integrating more digital technologies; the aim is to showcase innovations from exhibiting businesses and bring more interactivity to the MedFEL debates on issues facing the fruit and vegetable sector.

MedFEL takes place in the Occitanie/Pyrénées Méditerranée region, France’s 2nd largest ’farming region both geographically and by the number of businesses and jobs. It is also the 2nd largest for fruit production with 19% of the country’s available land, 4th largest for vegetable production with 10% of land and 2nd largest for seed production with 24% of land. MedFel aims to bring together the entire

French fruit and vegetable sector, while remaining a top quality business convention but on a people sized scale. MedFEL is continuing the MedFEL Tech adventure in order to anchor the event around upstream production. It has set itself the target of opening up more sales outlets for exhibitors by improving recruitment of international buyers both quantitatively and qualitatively, while at the same time ensuring that meetings are organised optimally.

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Fruit & veg buyer reception in Perpignan

Saint-Charles Export held a new buyers' reception in Perpignan from November 20-23 to bring together industry professionals interested in making new contacts with possible trading partners in fruit and vegetables.

Saint-Charles Export held a new buyers’ reception from November 20-23 to bring together industry professionals interested in making new contacts with possible trading partners in fruit and vegetables.

With the help of Business France, it gathered a buyer team including an Irish importer, a German wholesaler, a German importer, two Polish buyers and a Slovenian importer for the Balkan countries (Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Kosovo, Albania).

This event was sponsored by founding members of the group: the General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales, the national union of fruit and vegetable importers/exporters, and the association of owners of Saint Charles International, within the framework of the 2016 Saint-Charles Export programme.

In a press release, Saint-Charles International said the buyers were eager to discover the assets of the Pyrénées-Orientales and the East of the Occitanie region, and of the Saint-Charles platform, in terms of fresh fruit and vegetable production, marketing, transport and logistics,

“Their diverse interests and profiles allowed a very good quality of exchanges and all the visited companies were able to put forward their know-how…”

“Indeed, from the German company, which distributes mainly to discounters, to the wholesaler in Düsseldorf, which supplies convenience stores and markets, or the two purchasers from Poland whose mission is to supply 1070 stores, and the Slovenian importer who already bought in Holland, Egypt, Greece etc, and who finally ordered before the end of the trip… all conditions were present to have a successful trip,” it said.

Saint-Charles Export director Cyril Gornes had developed an intensive program with 20 appointments. The meetings took place at various firms and farms, with visits to:

  • Saint-Charles international trading companies, mostly specialised in Spanish and Moroccan origins,
  • Transport and logistics companies,
  • French salad and stone fruit producers, with visits to salad greenhouses and packing stations,
  • French apple and pear growers, approved by the Pink Lady brand,
  • A variety research and trading centre specialising in apricots,
  • An international trading company focused on Corsican and Tunisian products.

“The buyers had access to an extremely varied product offer, and a range of prices that could interest all the different company profiles of the group.

“From citrus fruit to dates and tomatoes, not to mention transport solutions, questions were numerous during those three days throughout the region.

Some of the companies visited have already received requests for quotations on their products,” Saint-Charles International said.

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Sofruce launching superior quality strawberry brand

French company Sofruce is launching a superior quality strawberry brand this season.

With a 50-year track record in excellence and quality, Sofruce plans to mark this milestone with the presentation of a new brand.

The French company, based at the Saint Charles International platform in Perpignan, has announced it will will launch the ‘superior quality’ strawberry brand this season.



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Winning year for Medfel exhibitors

The Medfel fair, now in its eighth edition, was organised by the South of France Development teams. Saint-Charles Export and the platform MP2 were responsible for the animation of the stands of 43 companies, present on more than 500 m2.

The Medfel fair has just ended and the comments of satisfaction are numerous among members of Saint-Charles Export.

The fair, now in its eighth edition, was organised by the South of France Development teams. Saint-Charles Export and the platform MP2 were responsible for the animation of the stands of 43 companies, present on more than 500 m2, a number reinforced by numerous member companies present in the South of France and Morocco pavilions.

Attendance on the rise

In a press release, organisers said this year Medfel drew 6,122 visitors. Attendance on the first day was up 6% on last year, 8% higher on the second day, and equal for the third and final day. “Those good results show the dynamism of this fair,” the said.

Medfel allows all professionals in fruit and vegetables of the Euro-Mediterranean area, either producers, shippers, importers/exporters or transporters/logistics, to demonstrate their know-how to the more than 6,000 visitors.

Motivated buyers

Among the exhibitors, companies such as Marquillanes and Soleil Roy noted that this year’s exhibition was even better than last year’s. Other feedback welcomed the rise not just in visitors but in very good quality contacts. Some reported making excellent contacts for sales to non-EU countries, particularly in French-speaking Africa, North Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, while others targeted countries on the European continent. And, though keeping a low profile, many buyers of French supermarket chains were also present at the show.

Common factors

But Medfel is a very specific fair for Saint Charles, and some common interests were clearly pointed at.

Firstly, Medfel is an ‘at home’ fair for those companies based in Perpignan, which makes a difference. For example, the company Caustier by STC, an associate member of the platform, manufacturer and installer of conditioning equipment, said: “Proximity allows us to go to the plant directly in order to show our customers machines and come back to the stand, which is obviously a privilege.”

Secondly, and from a commercial point of view, the main objective for exhibitors remains to meet new customers, then to strengthen existing relationships. But another important point, and one often cited by business leaders is that Medfel also allows for what could be described as a ‘family meeting’ between the different sectors, including fruit and vegetable operators and those from transport and logistics. They have the opportunity to exchange in a more friendly manner than usually and renew more personal connections.

Exhibitors in the Saint-Charles Export pavilion were:

Alma Transitaires / Anecoop France / Armand Fabre / Banque Courtois / Banque Populaire du Sud / Bio & Bio / Caustier by STC / CIC Iberbanco / CLTM Port-Vendres / Crédit Mutuel / CTS – Chartering Transport Service / Euler Hermes / Fontestad France / Food Développement Services / Gartner Spedition / Green Produce / Groupe Medina / Guanter Rodriguez / JH Mesguen Transports / JMF Partenariat / Laboratoire Départemental d’Analyses / Laboratoire Phytocontrol / Lacour / Leible Seifried International / Les Fruits Rouges de l’Aisne / Marquillanes / Oryvert / PSCCT / Plénétude Informatique / CCI Port-Vendres / Primar France / Primever Roussillon / Regal’In Europe / RCI / Saint-Charles Export / Satfer / Socafna / Solagora / Soleil Roy International / Spanfruits / Syndicat Mixte MP2 / Top Fruits / Vialade Champignons.


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Sofruce has a new strategy and a new brand

Sofruce markets 55,000 tons, 45% in France and 55% to export markets, particularly Germany, Italy and Eastern Europe

Although the competition is more aggressive and last season was complicated, this year Sofruce is celebrating its 50th anniversary with determination and enthusiasm. It is preparing for the future by introducing several lines of development and launching a new brand. This will reinforce the good progress of Sofruce’s sales last year in all its product categories: vegetables grew by 14%, citrus fruit by 8% and other fruit by 7% in volume terms. Sofruce markets 55,000 tons, 45% in France and 55% to export markets, particularly Germany, Italy and Eastern Europe. Diversification is the keynote of the firm’s new commercial strategy. This season that means greater segmentation in tomatoes and growth in citrus fruit, kaki and certain vegetables. “Thanks to our know-how and client loyalty, Sofruce has become a leading name internationally,” said CEO Grégory Cébrian. The company’s sales of speciality tomatoes such as cherry, olivette and cocktail tomatoes have grown by 13%. It will be marketing 14,000 tons of tomatoes this year, including 4000 tons of speciality types.

A guarantee of quality and several lines of development

Sofruce aims to strengthen its specialisation in strawberries, soft fruit and tomatoes while expanding its range to 6 or 7 major categories, with year-round availability. Kakis have become another strategic product for the company, particularly in response to increasing demand in Eastern Europe. “Kakis are increasingly successful and are helping us to win new clients,” Cébrian said. Stone fruit and melons also promise greater growth each season. Vegetables such as courgettes, carrots and sweet peppers are growing strongly, thanks to their availability throughout the year. Citrus fruit have been a further major development area since the start of the season. “Thanks to the trust our clients place in us, in just three and a half months we have doubled our total 2014/15 sales volume,” Cébrian said.

A new brand, a new promise

Sofruce is also preparing to launch a new ‘superior quality’ brand next season. This will be the beginning of a new stage as the family firm works to establish the Sofruce brand. The rationale for the new brand is to guarantee Sofruce’s commitment to a higher quality product and greater client loyalty. The Sofruce brand communication campaign will simultaneously target major buyers and consumers and their families. “We are looking to market our main products year-round with a real quality guarantee,” Cébrian said. Sofruce’s quality policy is based on two main criteria: a very demanding level of product selection at source (mainly Spain and Morocco) and strict compliance with the product supply chain procedures. This involves introducing upstream supplier specifications, only working with GLOBALG.A.P. certified growers, an internal Quality Manual and a qualified inspection service. Sofruce already guarantees all the food safety standards, with Bio certification since 2011 and IFS logistics certification since 2013.

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Saint Charles International a key hub

F rance imports nearly €4.9 billion worth of fruit and vegetables, 30% of which transit through Saint Charles International.

Nearly a third of France’s fruit and vegetable imports (from Europe and other countries), and a quarter of its exports, move through Saint Charles International.

France imports nearly €4.9 billion worth of fruit and vegetables, 30% of which transit through Saint Charles. This marketing, transport and logistics platform in Perpignan also handles nearly a quarter of France’s €2.7 billion worth of exports. Spain is still the foremost partner: 971,600 tons imported in 2015, accounting for 60% of the total by volume. Morocco, in second place, supplied 411,565 tons, nearly 25% of the volume transiting through Saint Charles. French products amounting to 132,922 tons, mainly from the local region, were also distributed via the platform in 2015. Lastly, 104,054 tons from non-EU countries cleared customs at Saint Charles. In reality, much higher volumes of products from non-EU countries are marketed through this platform, but they are difficult to follow statistically because a large proportion enter the EU through other European countries.

A platform that looks to the future and is doubling its exports

Saint Charles International is pursuing innovation and prospection initiatives and multiplying its logistics solutions in order to strengthen its leadership. The volumes it exports have doubled in 10 years and are now around 700,000 tons. In partnership with the authorities, a price reporting system has been implemented to monitor tomato imports from Morocco, as provided for in the special import regime for this product. “Import prices and volumes are reported daily by the companies” in order to support the mission of the market news network, said communications manager Anne Florin. A project to expand Saint Charles International into the Orline ZAC development zone between Saint Charles and the motorway is also under study.

More combined transport

Perpignan and its region offer a number of rail transport possibilities: conventional, piggyback and combined road/rail transport. Combined transport is now booming, with containers loaded daily onto wagons at the Saint Charles rail terminal. One of the main destinations is Valenton (in southern Paris), for delivery to the Rungis area. A new line to Rotterdam will be operating from 15th March, with five departures a week. The 2-day journey is comparable to the time it takes by road.

The port of Antwerp will also be served directly. In addition, Saint Charles is part of a working group called Clyma (Connexion Lyon-Madrid). The first stage of this European programme analysed the bottlenecks on the Madrid-Lyons axis that need to be eliminated in order to move towards facilitating modal transfers, the development of multiclient freight trains from Saragossa to Germany, and advancing the ‘green corridor’ concept as a whole.

This stocktaking exercise has led to the partners proposing specific measures, classified into priorities 1 to 3, which will enable real progress to be made. The piggyback service is operated by the Lorry Rail company at Le Boulou (between Perpignan and the Spanish border). It consists of loading freight trailers onto special platform wagons. Lorry Rail delivers them direct to Duisbourg (Germany). A project for an additional line to Calais is under study for the longer term, for deliveries to the United Kingdom. By sea, Port-Vendres plans to retrofit the Dezoums quay so that taller shipping from overseas can berth there. Over 300,000 tons a year are imported through this port, particularly from West Africa and Morocco.

Combined road/rail transport a reality

The rail terminal at Saint Charles provides a competitive road/rail transport service for companies based at Perpignan and in the neighbouring regions of Barcelona, Toulouse and Montpellier. The terminal, built in 1985, has been extended from 370 to 750 m in length so that it can take trains of the maximum length allowed in France. This investment has cost €40 million. The road/rail container traffic using the terminal has almost doubled as a result, increasing to 20,000 containers a year, with nearly 50 trains a week. The terminal is mainly publicly-funded, as its break-even point is 30,000 containers a year. It is managed by a semipublic company: 38% of the capital is owned by the province, 35% by the city of Perpignan, 5% by the Chamber of Commerce, 10% by the operator Novatrans, 2% by Froid Combi and 5% by the port of Barcelona.

The volume of fruit and vegetables shipped through this terminal is still small and 75% of the containers loaded there come from Asia. “Our trains are not yet sufficiently regular and punctual to interest the Saint Charles operators.” Compared to Rotterdam or Antwerp, the ports of southern Europe save 2 to 3 days’ sea journey for goods passing through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean. Rail links for goods from Spain also take some of the traffic off the overcrowded roads: over 10,000 lorries on average pass through Le Perthus, while one train can carry 40 to 50 containers.


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Spotlight on lettuce at MedFEL 2016

on a people-sized scale.  MedFEL’s core objectives are to expand outlets for exhibitors and present visitors with the most relevant fruit and vegetable offering. It aims to enhance trade relations between the 43 countries within the Union for the Mediterranean.

Taking place April 26-28 at the Parc des Expositions (Exhibition Centre) in Perpignan, MedFEL 2016 will shine the spotlight on lettuces.

An international business gathering of the fruit and vegetable sector, MedFEL is France’s most important fruit and vegetable event and is organised by the Sud de France Développement and Languedoc-Roussillon Regional Council.

“For three days, Perpignan becomes the Mediterranean’s agricultural capital, bringing together the Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées regions and acting as a figurehead for France’s second largest farming region measured by surface area and number of businesses and jobs. This newly created region will also be France’s leading producer of stone fruit (49%), melons (41%) and broadleaf endives (34%) and its 2nd largest producer of tomatoes (10%),” they said in a press release.

This 8th edition will feature an increased presence for MedFEL Tech, now in its second year. By incorporating pre-production professionals, it has promoted MedFEL into the world’s finest showcase for Mediterranean fruit and vegetables.

At its 7th edition, 5,855 visitors (a rise of 10% on 2014) converged on Perpignan, including the F&V sector’s most important buyers. In addition, the 240 Mediterranean exhibitors generated more than 5,632 B2B meetings (compared with a total of 4,000 in 2014). Indisputably a top quality business convention, but on a people-sized scale.

MedFEL’s core objectives are to expand outlets for exhibitors and present visitors with the most relevant fruit and vegetable offering. It aims to enhance trade relations between the 43 countries within the Union for the Mediterranean.

“As a unique link forging closer links between the two sides of the Mediterranean, the fair fully meets the needs of producers and trading companies on both northern and southern shores. It is a platform to dialogue, do business, optimise transport and logistics operations and develop business partnerships.

“MedFEL brings together stakeholders working in the Mediterranean fruit and vegetable sector for a programme of debates on the challenges facing the industry, along with production site visits and crop forecasts (apricot, peach, melon, plum and apple).“

For more info: MedFEL

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SNIFL turns 50


The “Syndicat National des Importateurs/exportateurs de Fruits et Légumes” (National Union of Importers/Exporters of Fruit and Vegetables, or SNIFL) at Saint Charles International first came ito being in 1965. This was at a time when the few dozen importers operating on the Perpignan wholesale market were beginning to feel cramped for space and the Saint Charles trading hub was still an unfinished Holy Grail. The historic site of Saint Charles International rapidly filled up and many businesses spread out, both inside and outside the site, occupying 200,000 m2 of climate-controlled warehousing across an area of 70 ha.
The fresh fruit and vegetables tonnages sold through the Saint Charles International platform quickly grew. Yves Mir, a former director of Saint Charles, recalls the landmark year of 1984, the year of a million tons, where on one fine day in December, 20,000 tons of citrus fruit passed through the toll gates, or the equivalent weight of two Eiffel Towers.

Different names for different times:

In 1965, SNIFL was known, in English, as the “National Union of Importers and Exporters from Pyrénées-Orientales”.
In 1976, it adopted the name of “National Union of Importers and Exporters of Fruit and Vegetables from Spain”. Since then, SNIFL has remained the “Syndicat National des Importateurs/exportateurs de Fruits et Légumes”.
SNIFL has also developed some fine tools over the years, some of which are unique in France, such as automated import and export databases, or the sector-leading systems for tracking data in real-time.
It was also the site of the world’s first solar power plant integrated into a building in the form of photovoltaic tiles – on the roofs of the warehouses at Saint Charles, where it was inaugurated in 2011.

It has taken fifty years of tireless effort, fights and alliances to create this trading hub based in Perpignan since 1965 – a hub that leads the way in Europe for the sale, transport and logistics of fruit and vegetables.

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The KÖLLA fruit company opens SAS branch in Perpignan

The KÖLLA Group has opened the KÖLLA France SAS branch in Perpignan.

The KÖLLA Group has opened the KÖLLA France SAS branch in Perpignan.

In a press release, the fruit company said it is continuing on its path of internationalisation and the new branch in France will allow it to be geographically closer to the “fruit from the south”. The branch is located in Perpignan, a key trans-boarding hub for produce from Spain and northern Africa.

“Highly qualified and experienced staff handle the sourcing, logistics and active marketing for our contacts in supermarkets, chain stores and wholesale markets. We are looking forward to a successful international cooperation,” it said.

For more than 90 years, the KÖLLA Group has operated in the global fruit and vegetable trade from its own offices in Bern, Kaarst, Munich, Valencia, Bolzano and Karlsruhe. It has a broad and deep network of relationships with customers and production within the EU and overseas and is certified according to ISO’22000 / 9001 and EU Bio, in Switzerland additionally with BIO SWISS. KÖLLA’s own-brands OTELLO and Alinda among others underline the experience in cultivation, quality assurance, trade and logistics of fruit and vegetable products.

source: KÖLLA press release