French cooperative Vegafruits has announced the acquisition of Clair de Lorraine, a producer and distributor of gourmet regional products from the eastern French region of Lorraine, where Vegafruits is also based.
The purchase, supported by regional fund ILP and agri-food specialist Unigrains, further consolidates the Mirabelle plum industry in Lorraine, with Vegafruits currently leading the world in sales of the variety.
Located near Nancy, Clair de Lorraine distributes regional gourmet specialties across a network of 14 shops, including ‘En passant par la Lorraine’ and ‘En passant par l’Alsace’, as well as through large-scale distribution and an e-commerce platform.
Vegafruit specialises in fruit, bringing together nearly 200 producers and more than 1,000ha of orchards, with half being sold fresh and half going to processors. In 2016, nearly 7,000 tonnes of fruit went to processing, including 5,400 tonnes of Mirabelles.
With its 40 per cent share of the Mirabelle market, Vegafruits has been able to use its strong position to establish partnerships and pursue innovation.
Vincent Ferry, founder of Clair de Lorraine, commented: “After more than 20 years leading the company, my priority was to pass it on to a team whose philosophy is very close to ours. With Vegafruits, two Lorraine-based companies are joining forces for the further development of our region.”
Bruno Colin, head of Vegafruits, added: “We are merging the DNA of two healthy, regional companies into a cohesive family. We project ourselves into the future because we believe in local commerce, which offers transparency, local products of which we know the quality and the provenance, and which pass directly from producer to consumer.”
The new group is expected to generate annual sales of approximately €20m.