The story of

Read the stories of cooperative farmers Alexandre, Nicolas and Cyriaque, and VIVESCIA Group employees
Xavier, Vincent and Bruno (VIVESCIA Cooperative), Cyndi and Damien (Grands Moulins de Paris),
Maxime and Carles (Délifrance), and Diego and Vianney (Malteurop).
Their course of action is clear: to be more entrepreneurial and more cooperative than ever!

Agriculture

Spotlight on the farmers and VIVESCIA cooperative experts who work so closely together...

Nicolas FEVRE
Nicolas
FEVRE
Cooperative farmer

2000 : 1st wheat production chain contract with Nestlé Baby Foods
2009 : 1st land mapping campaign
2015 : Commitment to the Nestlé Cereals France Préférence programme for wheat
2019 : Construction of a plant protection product effluent treatment system / Commitment to HEVcertification

Nicolas, since taking over the family farm, you have introduced a policy of continuous progress...
Yes, that’s right. I’ve made the transition from conventional agriculture to sustainable agriculture.
My goal in doing that is to maintain yields, at the same time as protecting the soil and biodiversity on my land. And VIVESCIA is helping me to achieve that. It’s definitely the agriculture of tomorrow. Another advantage is that I get more value out of the grain I grow, especially through partnerships with major agrifood companies. And my daughter proudly tells her friends that the biscuits they’re eating are made with her dad’s grain!
 

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Would you say that these production partnerships with customers are another source of progress for you?
Definitely! Production charters are demanding, but they’re perfect for our regions, because they’re produced in conjunction with the Cooperative's Agronomic and Sales teams. So these days, when production is driven by the markets, the support and visibility I get through VIVESCIA as a result of its agrifood industry links are valuable assets. Looking to the future, I think these charters will  become the norm. And that’s why I’ve extended this way of working to every part of my farm. I’m getting ahead of the curve! The specifications allow me to ramp up production gradually. In the end, we had no problem securing HEV certification after I decided to commit to that standard. It’s essential if we’re to meet public expectations.

Do you have any other plans for getting ahead of the curve?
Digital technology is playing an increasingly important role in agriculture. That's why I’m taking part in the tests conducted by the VIVESCIA New Technologies team. I’m also involved in a anaerobic digestion project with four other farmers. If I’m going to ensure the long-term future of my farm, I must have several strings to my bow!

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Cyriaque GODEFROY
Cyriaque
GODEFROY
Cooperative farmer

1988 : Joined the family farm
1990 : Took his first practical steps towards introducing conservation agriculture
2019 : Successful direct drilling of wheat, despite heavy rainfall (something not achievable in a ploughing-based system)
 
Cyriaque, why did you decide to focus on soil conservation agriculture?

When I took over the farm, it was being farmed conventionally, and I very quickly decided begin raising Ardennes Red Turkeys and make the transition to sustainable agriculture. And then I discovered conservation agriculture! Actually, both are about conservation: the first is about preserving the genetic heritage of a traditional form of regional poultry farming, and the second is about preserving the organic matter in the soil by doing away entirely with ploughing and introducing plant cover.
 

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Except that conservation agriculture isn’t something you can make up as you go along!
Definitely not! You really do need very close guidance and detailed advice. And that's precisely what you get from the VIVESCIAgrosol club, which enabled me to start making real progress. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that more and more people are coming together for VIVESCIA soil assessment visits! There’s always something new to learn! And even though we’re not all as advanced as each other in this type of agriculture, we all share our experiences. So the fact that a new agronomics engineer specialising in conservation agriculture has joined VIVESCIA is great news!
 

What appeals to you most about this way of farming?
It’s the direct relationship I have with the living world and the soil; with what’s above and what’s beneath the surface of my land! We’re relearning agronomy. And I'm protecting my soil for the future. That’s pretty essential for a farmer, don’t you think? But I’m not at all tribal about these things; I believe that every type of agriculture can, and must, learn from others...

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Xavier AUBIN
Xavier
AUBIN
VIVESCIA Innovation, Agronomy and Environment Expert

2009 : Water & Biodiversity IAE: a new position within the Cooperative
2012/2014 : Impact study of pollinators in the development of rapeseed crop yields
2016/2017 : 700 metres of educational hedgerows planted for field training workshops
2019 : Installation of connected weighing scales in two beehives
 
Xavier, at VIVESCIA, an IAE is a specialist agronomist. So what do you specialise in?

Well, I actually specialise in three areas: water protection to reduce the impact of agriculture on groundwater, biodiversity conservation, because many of the insects crucial to our crops need this diversity of habitats, and potatoes, because at VIVESCIA, we support all our cooperative farmers for all their crops!

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So how does that work in practice?
Many farmers have already embraced more sustainable principles. It’s my job to come up with innovative agronomic solutions that optimise their farming practices, validate them via precise protocols, and pass them on to my Field Agronomy Expert colleagues and the Technical Sales Experts who advise farmers. My colleagues also call me in when farmers come up against a problem for which no specific solution yet exists. I then work on the issue involved to identify the best solution.

What about biodiversity, for example?
It’s the interaction of species and their environment that generates biodiversity. These interactions must therefore be encouraged so that we can ‘cultivate’ biodiversity! Seeds and the diversity of species and varieties are powerful levers for adapting to environmental constraints. Added to which, the planting of hedgerows to include trees and shrubs of differing heights is an effective way of
recreating wildlife oases in today’s open arable landscapes.

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Vincent LEGRAND
Vincent
LEGRAND
VIVESCIA Field Agronomy Expert

2002 : BTS vocational qualification in plant technologies
2009 : VIVESCIA Technical Sales Representative
2015 : Took over the family farm VIVESCIA Field Agronomy Expert
2019 : Leadership of workshops during theVIVESCIA Local Days events
 
Vincent, you’re a VIVESCIA Field Agronomy Expert. What exactly does that role involve?

My job is to provide agronomic support to the Technical Sales Representatives who work alongside farmers in the field. But I often visit farmers with them.
At VIVESCIA, the provision of agronomic support really is a team effort. And information needs to flow rapidly and efficiently to provide farmers quickly with the solutions they need.
 

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What is it you need to provide the best support for field teams and farmers?
I can identify several factors: a detailed knowledge of the local land, soils and crops, R&D and the Group's ability to experiment in-situ with innovations in partnership with farmers, the support provided by the various DST* and the connected resources at our disposal, and the number and quality of observations made every Monday for nine months of the year by around a hundred of our employees…

But how can you make certain that the service you provide to farmers is consistent with their expectations in your sector?
What really matters is listening and local presence so that you have a clear understanding of the farm and the farmer, the nature of his land, his organisational structure, his expectations, his  agricultural equipment, etc. What I love most about this job is when I meet the farmer again at a winter agronomic meeting and he tells me that our recommendations were useful to him. That’s the way we can build long-term trust-based relationships…

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Bruno ADNET
Bruno
ADNET
Area Manager

1995 : Computerisation of input acceptance management
2000 : New grain analysis solutions
2007 : Appointed Area Manager after 25 years in technical sales
2019 : The introduction of artificial intelligence into silos (variety recognition system)

Bruno, what actually is the mission of an area manager?
I plan and organise work on seven silos in the Marne department of France, including the shipping silo at Matougues. In other words, I coordinate incoming and outgoing stocks, stock management, and team scheduling and safety to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Because what’s at stake is the quality of grain entrusted to us. The work we do must be done properly to ensure that we maximise its  value!
 

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When you talk about maximising the value of grain, what does that actually mean?
When we receive grain at harvest time, we clean it and assess its potential - protein content, for example - and sort it into sizes to create consistent batches of grain that are stored separately, ventilated, temperature-monitored, and allocated on the basis of customer specifications. Our strength lies in the professionalism and versatility of my team. If we need to, we have no hesitation in working round-the-clock in three eight-hour shifts! The thing I’m most proud of is the gratitude of our farmers, because they appreciate that we’ve done our very best to maximise the value of the grain they have grown. And that’s especially true when the harvest quality is poor!

As on-farm storage continues to expand, what will be the role of the silo manager going forward?
Shipping silos will continue to ship grain! But in the future, my job will also expand to help and support farmers who store grain by explaining how best to do so on the basis of best practice for the best outcome. And that process has already begun! When we receive grain from farmers’ own storage facilities, I use it as an opportunity to get that kind of information across: how to maintain grain health standards to ensure food safety depending on the external temperature, humidity level, etc. For some of them, grain storage is a totally new experience. So they need my help and support.

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Milling

Spotlight on passionate employees and committed ‘partners in their customers’ success

Cyndi DUCHATEAU
Cyndi
DUCHATEAU
Key Account Director

2008 : Cyndi was Sales Director at France Farine when it was acquired by Grands Moulins de Paris in 2002 under the Francine brand
2010 : Heads up the Francine brand Pancake Day campaign for the first time
2014 : Appointed Key Account Director of the Francine brand

Your professional career to date has been completely focused on flour. Why did you choose this particular product?
The first thing to say is that I love cooking, and I’m interested in everything to do with food! When I first joined Grands Moulins de Paris, I was excited by the challenge of equipping and training the sales team to raise the profile of the brand to a new level. Since then, everything has happened very quickly, and I now head up the key account customer management team for supermarkets and  hypermarkets.
 

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Can you describe the Francine Pancake Day campaign for us?
Pancake Day is the only time of the year when Francine ventures beyond its usual shelves to gondola heads: an absolutely key time of the year for this brand! Francine also provided the impetus for the introduction of the Crêpes en Fête committee. This committee unites 5 crêpe-related brands, and is the only industry-wide committee to survive since 1998!

The Francine brand achieved its highest ever share of the Pancake Day market this year, so what made that possible?
Francine sold 3 million units for Pancake Day, giving us a market share of 44.4%; a level not seen since 2010! The roots of this success lie in a detailed sales and marketing policy fairly distributed between the brands represented on the committee. So this year, we were able to negotiate an agreement with E. Leclerc. The in-store promotions by our sales force also played a key role. Lastly, the comprehensive radio, press and online campaign also helped to build loyalty and recruit new consumers. All three were major assets in developing the leadership of Francine!

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Damien ROGEON
Damien
ROGEON
Digital Operations Manager

2008 : Completed his business studies, which had taken him to Canada and England
2012 : Joined Grands Moulins de Paris
2019 : Launched the Grands Moulins de Paris e-commerce website

Why did you choose to work for Grands Moulins de Paris?
When I arrived in 2012, Grands Moulins de Paris was expanding its organisational structure and IT systems to boost sales and marketing efficiency.
I immediately saw the opportunity that this position would give me to combine my business skills with my keen interest in everything digital. I saw it as a unique opportunity to contribute to the transformation of an international company using resources and systems that fascinate me!
 

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What do you like most about your job?
I suppose you could say that I’m a kind of secret weapon for the operational implementation of our digital strategy. I’m helping to make the Grands Moulins de Paris commitment to be Partners in their Customers'Success a reality. The website is already proving incredibly successful, with 60% of our customers having already activated their accounts. I'm now working on the next round of  updates, because we’ve planned quarterly development packages throughout 2020. And this is just the beginning!

Why did you create this new e-commerce website?
The online sales website offers an ordering channel that complements telemarketing and the physical in-store presence of our sales representatives.
For companies like Grands Moulins de Paris, it had become essential to have an e-commerce website to take advantage of the growing importance of this channel in BtoB markets, and to meet bakers’ expectations of simplicity and freedom. The platform we designed is actually much more than just a shop window, because it features articles, news, recipes, business advice and educational videos too. What we’ve designed is a website that is full of life and with features that make customers want to keep on coming back!

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Industrial Bakery

Spotlight on employees who, each in their own way,
bring the art of french-style bakery and viennoiserie to the world

Maxime CHABOUT
Maxime
CHABOUT
Development & Innovation Manager - Viennoiserie

2007 : Joined Délifrance
2017 : Appointed to head up the Viennoiserie R&D department
2019 : Go Clean programme launch

What do you like best about Délifrance?
I’m absolutely convinced that our health depends on the food we eat, and that each of us has ultimate responsibility for our own wellbeing. Working at Délifrance gives me the opportunity to design innovative new products and develop our range in ways that offer our consumers better products. During the year, we launched the Go Clean programme, and I’m really proud to have been part of this initiative!
 

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What exactly is the Go Clean programme?
The three priorities of the Go Clean programme are simplified recipes, sustainable ingredients and high nutritional value. We are gradually removing controversial ingredients from our recipes, sometimes at the request of customers, and sometimes at our own initiative. Naturally, for some recipes, this poses a technical challenge for our teams and also puts pressure on our suppliers, but it’s this process that will allow us to help the industry move forward on essential issues like these.

What does innovation mean to you?
For me, it’s all about applying creativity to create unique experiences and improving people's lives, whether in terms of health or convenience... My job puts me at the interface between many teams,
all of whom have different needs, so my role is to offer them products that meet their expectations. Our involvement in the innovation process begins at the earliest stage of generating new ideas alongside the sales and marketing teams, and runs right through to manufacturing. So you need good listening skills, coordination and perseverance for long-term projects like Go Clean.

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Carles NIETO
Carles
NIETO
Director of Délifrance Iberica

2000 : Joined the family firm Pastisart as a sales representative
2018 : Joined Délifrance as Managing Director of its Spanish subsidiary

Why did you decide to join Délifrance?
After 18 years in the family firm, I wanted to move on to an executive management role. The ability of Délifrance to innovate and its plan to develop its Spanish subsidiary by winning new customers and setting up new sales networks were what persuaded me immediately that I should join the Group.
 

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What strengths does Délifrance have in the Spanish market?
In Spain, Délifrance is seen as a company that offers highquality French-style products. We have a role to play in providing a premium offering that complements existing ranges. Délifrance is growing strongly in the Spanish market and delivering some exceptional results (sales up 19% year-on-year) that outperform the market.

How do you see the future?
We are very positive about the future. We have great potential for further growth, and we’re focusing particularly on extending our distribution network to holiday hotspots and communities with high population densities. For 2019/2020, we are targeting a level of annual revenue double that of 2015/2016, and we’re confident that we will achieve the revenue level set in our budget. The personal commitment and professionalism of our team members are key to our success and essential for hitting our targets!

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Malt

Spotlight on employees who are building and innovating for the benefit
of large-scale brewers and craft brewers in france and internationally

Diego VAREA
Diego
VAREA
Coordinator-in-Chief of the Albacete project

2007 - Graduated in technical engineering having specialised in industrial electronics
2012 - Joined Intermalta (the Malteurop and Mahou San Miguel joint venture)
2018 - Became involved in the project to extend the Albacete maltings

You’ve been a contributor to the Albacete maltings expansion project, so what has your role been?
I’ve been managing operations involved in extending and optimising the silos. It was all about increasing the capacity of the malt and barley sorting and transport systems. But we’ve also reorganised the entire facility to make better use of the space available, improve access and simplify routing. I’ve also been involved in all the changes to the site in conjunction with our Technical Director Javier Iriarte.
 

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What were your main challenges?
The main problem we had was implementing this expansion project with no interruption to production, which is exactly what we managed to achieve! For example, we had to separate the roaster into two sections by building a temporary wall so that we could successively enlarge it first to the right, and then to the left. The second challenge was time! Every minute of the work done by the teams was optimised. And it’s thanks to everyone's commitment that we succeeded in delivering this challenge on time. And on budget!

So what lessons have you learned from this experience?
During these few months, I learned to approach situations calmly, mainly as a result of working closely with Javier Iriarte and my other colleagues. The ability to take a calm and detached approach is essential for a project of this complexity, which brings its daily share of difficulties with it!

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Vianney GIOT
Vianney
GIOT
Head of Craft Brewing Development

2009 : Having graduated in agricultural engineering and profit centre management from UniLaSalle, Vianney joined the Malteurop Group
2015 : Set up a craft brewery distribution subsidiary at Hopsteiner, the world leader in hops
2018 : Rejoined Malteurop to develop the independent craft breweries market

What are the challenges that attracted you to this new mission?
The thing I enjoy most is business development. And the diversification we’ve seen in the global beer market offers us the opportunity to develop new ways of promoting and distributing our malts. Today’s consumers are looking for more local products that have been produced in a more traditional way, which is why we are seeing such a proliferation of regional breweries. France is no exception, with 500 new breweries set up in 2018 alone. On 1 September 2019, we launched a new range of malts for craft brewers in France, the Benelux countries and Australia, and we’ll soon be extending that range to Poland and Spain - and we're pursuing our growth in the USA. Coordinating all of this is really exciting.
 

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So in what sense is this a pivotal project for Malteurop?
Above all else, small, independent brewers love talking about their beers and what makes them special. So we have to convince them about the quality of our malts, meet them face-to-face, offer them bespoke - or virtually bespoke - quantities, which is a type of business we definitely weren’t familiar with. Even more hands-on and even closer, this new relationship with our customers is totally consistent with the way our approaches and expertise are evolving. So we need to meet them, and build a two-way relationship based on trust and openness.

What are you most proud of about this project?
This new range involves a complete rethink of our distribution and packaging. It's no easy task to get the teams onboard at first, but I’m delighted to see that once everyone understands the service we can offer to these brewers, they’ve embraced and adopted the idea. So a real source of pride!

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