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Francia 29/04/2024

What virtuous offer to seduce consumers in the future? BIG interview with Christine Bertin from Blue Whale

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Since 2023, the #1 apple producers organisation in France, Blue Whale has been committed to a forward-looking approach to ensure a sustainable future for its farmers and better meet the needs of consumers. Christelle Bertin, the new Marketing Director, explains the strategy implemented in 2023 and for the next 5 years on agro-ecology and the future generation of farmers. "Our medium-term objective is to prepare the orchards and farmers of the future, and to respond to consumers with a more compatible and profitable form of agriculture". Blue Whale is involved in a European research programme on agro-ecology and regeneration. It has a budget of €12 million with 6 partners. It aims to develop more sustainable agriculture with more resilient orchards. The aim is to meet the challenge of reducing environmental impact, using less water and crop-protection products while remaining profitable.


“Regeneration Fruit” programme

Christelle Bertin, marketing and communications director of the Blue Whale, shared the successful launch in 2023 of a major agro-ecology research programme with a consortium of 6 partners, led by Blue Whale. The 5 other partners are INRAE, Asclepios Tech, Ecole d'Ingenieur de Purpan (Toulouse), Micropep and Maf Roda. "Regeneration Fruit" is a 5-year R&D project, co-financed by the French government as part of the France 2030 plan, following a call for projects on the theme of "making a success of the agro-ecological transition, aims to test and combine different innovative technologies, serving the qualities of apples and the health of living organisms". With a budget of €12 million over 5 years, the objectie is to develop a more technically, economically and environmentally efficient form of arboriculture, one that is capable of meeting consumer expectations, responding to consumer health issues and preserving biodiversity and local areas, against a backdrop of climate change.


A responsibility for the future

As France's leading apple organisation, with a collective of over 260 fruit producers, Blue Whale represents almost 25% of the French apple and pear orchards listed by the national apple producers' association. The cooperative group has observed a decline in apple consumption, an ageing consumer base and the rise of new trends such as red fruit and snacking. On the environmental front, climate change, with the appearance of new pests and more frequent climatic adversities, is also making regulations more restrictive. Blue Whale is also faced with an ageing grower population, with an average age of 49. Far from suffering in this unfavourable context, the French leader in apple production is rolling up its sleeves to take action in favour of fresh fruit consumption, more sustainable arboriculture and a desirable future for all.


First Blue Whale conference with 230 partners

Last January, Blue Whale organised a major event in the south-west of France, its historic birthplace. The theme of the event was "Climate change and societal challenges: adapting to the new situation". It brought together the Group's growers and managers of fruit-growing stations, as well as external guests, local stakeholders and business contacts. They had the opportunity to reflect together on the challenges facing the French apple sector and the factors that will give confidence in the future to those who can see ahead and innovate.


A triple objective

The aim of this second programme is threefold: to develop a crop itinerary for the future, to educate consumers and boost consumption, and to develop markets with new commercial labels. The markets section targets buyers and consumers in Europe, Asia and Latin America. "The aim is to develop more flavoursome varieties and choose the virtuous offer that best appeals to both distributors and consumers," explains Christelle.

For more information: https://www.regenerationfruit.com/le-projet/

Become Gold

Blue-Whale new director of marketing and communication Christelle Bertin has a deep knowledge of the food industry.
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