Innovation to quality in the horticulture industry: feedback from a CEO
From 35 years experience in French fruit and vegetable cooperative management, I will highlight key points, which are essential for producers - exporters when they want to control the quality up to the consumer. Soils and climate conditions enable France to be a major producer and exporter of plants, especially fruit and vegetables. Every year, 2,750,000 t of fruit and 3,500,000 t of vegetables are produced in France. Export is a major market strategy. Along the Loire Valley, many plant actors (companies, research and training centers) are gathered within the VÉGÉPOLYS competitiveness cluster in order to facilitate partnerships between companies and researchers. Company competitiveness is boosted through innovation and international development. Fleuron dAnjou, a VÉGÉPOLYS member, is a cooperative group in the Loire Valley. Created in 1962, the cooperative has over 100 producers and 140 employees on 3 platforms. It has two main activities: fruits and vegetables on one side, flowers and plants on the other. Its annual turnover amounts to 42 M and the groups to 68 M. Definitely dynamic and turned toward export, Fleuron dAnjou controls the whole cold chain to guarantee the consumer high quality products. Fruit and vegetable quality must be thoroughly inspected before, during and after production: cultivars are getting more and more resistant, production and harvest conditions are optimized (sanitary conditions, watering). But as soon as harvesting occurs, it is essential to take the right measures to keep this quality up to the final customer.
Gidoin, Y. (2019). Innovation to quality in the horticulture industry: feedback from a CEO. Acta Hortic. 1245, 1-10
VÉGÉPOLYS, French fruit and vegetables, ornamentals, R&D, innovation, export, cold chain, quality