The agrifood sector is widely represented in Atlantic France, which is a region that has a strong ecosystem in this field. The area is an ideal location for setting up an agrifood business and for benefitting from cutting-edge innovations.
The Atlantic France agrifood market encourages innovation. For example, it is one of the first French regions to convert its food industry to organic production, with a prospect of more than 10% growth in the coming years.
Another major trend is the fight against food waste, an issue which is being addressed from several angles, such as the reduction of packaging (including plastic and its recyclability), and the valorisation of by-products.
Many agrifood companies are aiming to reduce packaging, especially that of single-use plastics, and are considering the return of glass and deposits. Others are doing research on potentially using new materials from bio-based plastics, but industrial-scale viability is sometimes difficult to achieve. In Atlantic France, producers benefit from a leading tool which supports their ideas: the Ligépack innovation platform in Le Mans.Viviane Kerlidou, animation manager at the Food Technocampus
Fork&Care: open innovation for healthy food projects
The consortium is backing up a new accelerator called Fork&Care. The objective is to support 6 startups that are leading projects in the field of healthy food. The programmes will last 10 months, with the first due to start next September. Fork&Care will also promote open innovation by involving industrial partners that will offer financial support and provide concrete use cases.
Exden, AlinOVeg, and LDC: investing in agrifood
Many Atlantic France businesses are implementing ambitious development projects with significant investments. Here are 3 examples that have been in the news in recent months:
- Exden, a contract manufacturer of food supplements with probiotics, has recently set up a packaging unit near Nantes, next to its headquarters. The 15-year old company has invested €350,000, has planned another €200,000 investment, and due to a successful 30% growth in 2022, Exden is already considering expanding the unit.
- The Nantes-based group Eurial, which is the Agrial cooperative’s milk division, is taking part in the AlinOVeg collaborative research project on “Innovating in plant-based food“. The programme is being funded with a budget of €11.4 million over 5 years and aims to develop healthy and plant-based (pea and fava bean proteins) alternatives to dairy products.
- The poultry specialist LDC is investing €21 million in two of its sites located in Atlantic France: €5 million in Laval for a new 600 sqm building, and €16 million in Louverné, which is also in the Mayenne department, for a new 5,600 sqm logistics platform which will handle around 150 tonnes of goods per day. The building will generate part of its electricity thanks to photovoltaic panels. The company has also worked with the local company Imagine VR to design some workstations and improve working conditions.
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