brand or distributor, manufacturers’ applesauce – Liberation

The producer Charles & Alice produces half of his compotes on behalf of distributors… who sell them 25% cheaper than him.

The packs of four Charles & Alice apple, banana or apple-mango jars are always in good place on the shelves, often accompanied by the mention “no added sugar”. On the other hand, only insiders know that the compotes of Carrefour, Système U or Auchan distributor brands, placed one shelf lower, also come from the two Charles & Alice production sites, located in Drôme and Vaucluse. Each year, 90,000 tonnes of fruit are processed by this company, which generates 200 million euros in turnover, half of which is for distributor brands.

Inflation went through it

At first glance, it seems difficult to produce both under your own brand and at the same time for another with a seriously lower price. Could there be a form of industrial schizophrenia at Charles & Alice? Its CEO, Charles Goubault denies it: “National brands innovate and invest and then private labels allow for greater economic development.” Clearly, producing for distributor brands makes it possible to multiply volumes and keep factories running even if the profit margin is lower and the constraints greater. A fortiori if the market is buoyant. “Consumers are looking for healthy eating and we were the first to launch compotes with no added sugar”, continues the manager. However, inflation has gone through this. For the past few weeks, the Charles & Alice brand has been down 3% compared to the same period a year earlier. On the other hand, manufacturing for supermarkets is up 4% and should have reached 5% at the end of the year.

At first glance, nothing looks more like a Charles & Alice apple-pear compote than its unofficial Franprix-branded “cousin”, except for the price. 1.95 euros for the first and 1.35 euros for the second. The difference exists, however, in the choice of raw materials that we modestly call “Specifications” in retail. The Charles & Alice brand has signed long-term contracts with French producers of apples, strawberries, raspberries and even rhubarb. On the other hand, private label compotes are instead made with imported fruits. The strawberries then come from Poland and the raspberries from Serbia. And are then up to 25% cheaper. However, the cost of raw materials represents 25% of the price that will ultimately be paid by the consumer.

Hide taste weaknesses

In addition, the lower the quality of the fruit, the greater the temptation to add sugar to mask some taste weaknesses. The mention “no added sugar” then disappears on the jar of compotes. So many nuances that explain the differences between premium brands and distributors, even if the production chains are the same. The CEO of Charles & Alice nevertheless believes that the two types of products are strongly interdependent: “If Charles & Alice stops developing, private labels will no longer be able to justify their differences.”

Source: Libération by

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