Organic purchases are booming. The four Biocoop logistics platforms had become too small to accommodate the company’s growing volumes, so the co-op group gave itself two years to scale up its logistics function. In Provence, this growth strategy led Biocoop to leave Sorgues for a brand-new Noves facility with 30,000 m² of space. Settling in this small town in Bouches du Rhône to the south of Avignon moved Biocoop closer to highways and, most importantly, to the Châteaurenard MIN market where the group plans to help promote the organic sector to producers.
On November 5, 2018, some 350 guests, co-op members, suppliers, employees and representatives of the National Organic Agriculture Federation celebrated the opening of the new Biocoop logistics platform at Noves. The chain crossed the Durance to set up shop in a 30,000 m² building. Built and financed by Barjane and GSE, the site was specially designed to handle the full range of dry goods, dairy, fruits and vegetables marketed by the co-op and to meet the daily supply needs of its 40 stores in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and in the southeastern quadrant of France.
A seal in recognition of the commitment of the organic agriculture industry
This grand opening was an opportunity for Michel Pecout, Vice-President for the Economy at Terre de Provence Metropolitan Area, to present the “Invest in Provence” seal to Biocoop President Claude Gruffat. This distinction from the Provence Promotion agency rewards the brand’s commitment and values in its work with growers to promote organic farming and its contributions to developing the agri-food industry. “Biocoop intends to become a Terre de Provence partner by participating in the revitalization of farmland. In Châteaurenard, we feel a real momentum in favor of expanding organic agriculture. Our co-op members include farmers’ groups such as Solebio Sud Est, Uni Vert for fruits and vegetables and Copebio for meats,” notes Dominique Senecal, a Biocoop board member and Chairman of the Southeast/Rhône-Alpes region.
Biocoop: 20 to 25 new hires per year
With logistics platforms that are doubling in size roughly every seven years, Biocoop opted for rental. In Noves, the co-op is committed for the next 10 years to this multi-temperature HQE building (air filtered, rainwater treatment, natural lighting and impending installation of photovoltaic panels on the roof).
The building location meets accessibility criteria and does not encroach on farmland. “Noves is close to a highway interchange and to the old building. This makes it possible to minimize the impact for the 240 employees who work at the site. Each year we hire between 20 and 25 people for our logistics platform,” added Dominique Senecal.
The chain holds a nearly 15% market share in the organic retail market in France. It is conducting studies with the goal of getting even closer to production sites. The Biocoop network of 500 stores is opening new retail outlets at the rate of 60 per year. In 2017, its total sales were €1.1 billion, an increase of 15%.