Long-standing partners in sweetcorn and green vegetable production, Euralis and Bonduelle have signed a partnership to create a new pulse sector. From now on, the cooperative will offer its farmers the opportunity to produce lentils, dried beans and chickpeas for Bonduelle. This sector falls within the French government’s food sovereignty policy, driven by successive health crises. It also meets the rise in consumer demand for vegetable proteins and products grown and processed in France and offers the cooperative’s member farmers the chance to diversify their revenues.
“We are delighted with this agreement which allows us to strengthen our historic ties with Bonduelle”, highlights Christophe Congues, President of the Euralis Group. “For many years now, our cooperative has been the group’s only partner in the production of green vegetables. We are therefore working closely with them in confidence with the shared desire to support the development and resilience of farmer’s operations.”
Laurent Dubain, Managing Director of Euralis’s Agricultural Division: “This new pulse sector falls within our logic of developing contract farming at the Agricultural Division. Our aim is to offer a new guaranteed market opportunity for our farmers. These pulses can be grown throughout our region and this summer, we have already suggested to farmers working on crop rotations to introduce these crops”.
Cyrille Auguste, Managing Director of Bonduelle Europe Long Life, says: “We are delighted about this innovative project, which strengthens our historic ties with our partner, Euralis. This marks a step forward in the transition towards more plant-based foods, for the benefit of both consumers and the planet.”
3 years of testing to turn the project into a reality
Over the past three years, tests have been carried out with a dozen or so Euralis member farmers, with promising results. They confirm the benefits of these productions for farmers and consumers and also fall within the logic of protecting the planet. In fact, whatever the type of soil, the yields are satisfactory and according to Thierry Cauhapé, head of specialist production at Euralis, “The specifications are turning out to be fairly unrestrictive in terms of irrigation and the choice of plots and require few input products.” He also states that “The productivity and competitivity of these productions are yet to be determined but this new market, particularly in our cooperative region, is clearly promising since it meets growing societal demands.”
Euralis thus offers its farmers the opportunity to produce pulses, a choice driven by the popularity of this fast-growing market. Pulses are confirming their growth after 2019, a year when total consumption in France reached 110,000 tonnes. The health crisis was beneficial, with a very strong increase in sales in 2020 during the lockdown, a trend which continued through to 2021. In light of this context, the Euralis cooperative and the Bonduelle Group have signed a new partnership. While it is too early to offer production and volume forecasts, the aim for the first marketing year is to plant 1,000 hectares of pulses by 2023 (mainly lentils and dried beans).
Another reason why the Euralis group chose to embark on this production is because it boasts a high-performance industrial seed production tool (Lidea). The vegetables are also sorted at the Lidea plant in Francescas (Southwest France), before being processed at the Bonduelle industrial sites.
This partnership marks a new step for Bonduelle while strengthening ties with the Euralis cooperative. The creation of a pulse sector in France falls perfectly within the Group’s strategy to support the plant-based transition and offer consumers healthy, high-quality food grown and processed in France.