Sofruce, a family business headed by Grégory Cebrian, the grandson of its founder, continues to grow with a turnover of 87 million Euros in 2018.
Specialising in the import and export of fresh fruit and vegetables for more than 50 years, Sofruce has a long played a major part in the berry industry, but the scope of Sofruce’s activities has broadened in recent years and now rests on 3 major pillars, berries, citrus and tomatoes. In this context of strategic development Fabien Lefebvre has now joined Sofruce in the capacity of Managing Director, “We have big ambitions for Citrus, in particular with regard to the Moroccan clementine, where we see a market potential of 35 000 tons. Similarly we are seeing double-digit growth in tomatoes, notably in the small segmentation tomato where we have become indispensable.” Of the berries the strawberry is still the leader with 18 000 tons sold in 2018, the main focusses for development are now raspberry and blueberry. Sofruce is also a major player on the melon market starting from the month of March.
“Maria” the platform for producers
While Sofruce offers its clients “tailor-made” solutions out of Perpignan and Rotterdam, Grégory Cebrian created a new company in 2018, Maria, the purpose of which is to organise the “complete direct shipment of productions”. Strengthened by this unique offer Sofruce has concluded some exclusivity agreements with two of its long-term partners, COPAG (120 000 tons of citrus and 40 000 tons of early vegetables to Morocco) and Rosaflor (300 hectares to tomato greenhouses and melons in Agadir and Dakhla). “Our added value lies in our in-depth knowledge of international markets. With customer satisfaction at the heart of all we do, we also lend support to our producers. Selection of variety, crop rotation, we get involved far up the chain with the aim of guaranteeing optimal remuneration for our producers, positive social impact and a continuous improvement process”. Other partnerships are currently in development, in particular in Spain and Morocco, but also from complementary origins, “in order to select the best match of soil and variety and to give us a longer marketing schedule”.
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.
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.