France’s leading private label manufacturer, Agromousquetaires, targets UK market

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Agromousquetaires, the number one private label manufacturer in France (45% of the private label brands sold at sister grocery business Intermarché are produced by the Group’s factories), is setting its sights on Europe’s largest private label market – the UK.

The €4bn turnover company, which operates from 62 production units in France, manufacturing across 10 food and non-food sectors with 11,000 employees, claims it meet the key consumer and retailer needs.

“We can help retailers build a competitive advantage and differentiate their offering from the rest of the market, helping them to answer their customers’ needs and expectations,” says Caroline Durand, project development director for the UK at Agromousquetaires.

“There’s currently little evidence of a genuine French style offering in UK stores. We can offer a unique concept.”

According to Agromousquetaires, differentiation will also help UK retailers survive the discounter threat.

“It’s not possible to fight only on the price battlefield – that’s a losing battle,” says Nicolas Jerome, sales and marketing director for Agromousquetaires.

“Retailers must go where the discounters can’t go and provide new and specific benefits for consumers. We believe we can build that proposition with a range of typically French every day food, listed in retail – a distinctive range which creates a positive image, brings value and additional margin.”

The company claims that its offer can meet most typical, British meal occasions – at home, out of home, snacking and refreshment – with breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as picnic, barbecue and sweet and savoury options.

The appetizer through to dessert proposition is achievable through scale. The Group is heavily involved in the local economy, supporting the work of more than 17,000 local producers and farmers with strong partnerships. As a result, Agromousquetaires is a key player in the French food and drink sector – it is France’s number one in fresh fish and nappies, the second largest wholesale seafish merchant and producer of cured meats, the third largest fresh meat and canned goods producer and fourth in bottled mineral water production. Sales have increased €3bn in 2011 to their current level with €100m invested in the company per year for the last five years.

Innovation is at the core of the operation and is designed to ensure Agromousquetaires’ products stand out from the crowd and inspire brand loyalty.

Bonno: innovation drive

According to CEO Christophe Bonno, the company constantly analyses the value of its products and consumer needs and has instigated a ‘100 innovations’ challenge to enable new ideas and product ranges to be developed, which follow consumer trends. These are unveiled each year at the PLMA or SIAL.

Durand reports the company could offer ready meals (frozen, fresh and deli products); groceries including canned meat, canned fish, compote and jam plus biscuits from Brittany; bakery and Viennese Pastry including baguettes and white bread, traditional and speciality bread, Viennese Pastry, galettes and tartes.

Wine could also be on the menu. Agromousquetaires is a key player in French wine and the only company producing exclusively private label wine. It has three key business units – Hauller, a winery and Alsace specialist; Amiel for bulk blending and a South of France specialist; plus FDL, a wine merchant and bottling company.