To bounce back after the disaster

Rebondir après le désastre

The French company Fleury Michon turned to the online sale of prepared meals and dishes to bounce back after seeing its sales of meal of a plane crashing in 95 % due to the pandemic.

“We are going to launch our own ecommerce site in the fall. It was well understood that it is necessary to diversify our activities. We sell pasta, frozen chicken previous, the risotto, the braised beef and poke bowls, ” said Stephane Koeman, vice-president, sales and marketing of Fleury Michon America.

Founded in 1905, the French giant of the food, which has its headquarters in Pouzauges, a small town of the Vendée, weighs heavily in the food industry with sales of $ 1.1 billion last year.

Fleury Michon, which is worth more than $ 167 million on the Paris stock Exchange, has set foot in Quebec in 2006 by purchasing the plant of Rigaud Delta Dailyfood, and caters for private aviation companies such as Air Canada and Air Transat.

“More than 95 % of the plant’s production of Rigaud is intended to aircraft. When the crisis began, we were obliged to stop. It has had to lay off temporarily our 350 employees of the plant of 200, 000 square feet, ” said Stephane Koeman.

Repositioning to Rigaud

In Quebec, the mill was running at full speed was rung by the discontinuation of the major airlines, which forced her to reposition emergency.

“We said that we could not depend only of the aviation “, summarized Mr. Koeman, in that does not go through four paths.

In France, Fleury Michon is still in good shape. Its cold meats and ready meals are sold like hot cakes during the pandemic, a boon for its division in quebec, who can count on it.

“We have lost three quarters of our turnover this year. In Europe, it is the opposite. In France, it’s going very well. We are lucky to have a house mother is very strong because it would have been very difficult to get through the crisis without them, ” continued Mr. Koeman.

When the quebec economy was put on pause in mid-march, the plant quickly found itself with hundreds of thousands of dishes too. Today, nearly three million meals sleep in his freezers.

“When an event like that happens, one realizes the vulnerability of the organization, has analyzed the top leader. In the retail trade, it’s okay, everyone needs to eat, pandemic or not, but in aviation, it is different. People are not obliged to travel, then the impact is large, and it may drop drastically, as it has been the case for us.”

Business model

For Sylvie Cloutier, president and CEO of the Council of the food processing du Québec (CTAQ), Fleury Michon does well to begin in the online sale of prepared meals and dishes because she has the expertise to carry this project.

“Fleury Michon’s business model is ideal. They have prepared dishes, a bit like Jérôme Ferrer “, she said when The Newspaper told him about the new.

That said, Sylvie Cloutier points out that not all the processors which are quite equipped to prepare dishes that are ready to be delivered to consumers, not to mention the risk of this strategy for some.

“At the same time, the processors will need to be careful because they still have customers who are large retailers. A bit like Saputo has done recently, they’re going to have to be careful not to be in competition with themselves, ” she illustrated.

For his part, the CEO of the quebec Association for the distribution of fruit and vegetables (AQDFL), Sophie Perrault, welcomed the arrival of the giant Fleury Michon in this niche, which could stimulate his industry.

“For us, it could be interesting and open new doors to some of our suppliers. Fleury Michon is a super company, then it is a good news for consumers as well, ” she concluded.

♦ Last year, Québec has granted a loan of $ 6.5 million to the company, prepared meals Fleury Michon America to help modernise its facilities in Rigaud, in Montérégie.

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