Food cooperative the new distribution?

Food cooperative, organic and local ... Vegetables have the "scoop"!

To answer the question on the introductory title, Food cooperative, new distribution? NO, we cannot say that this "system" will replace the current distribution. That of the supermarkets that you know well. But it's a little brick, a current, that some will describe as shops for sores ... But after all, why not, let's accept!

In reality, it is more of a trend, an almost "political" action. These food cooperatives have a leitmotif: get involved, together! Here it is about creating food stores that benefit customers and that respect a certain ethic: defense of the environment, defense of local production, local employment.
A brick in the garden of standardization. beautiful products, a very wide offer that matches all kitchens and expectations. One of the axes of a more participatory local life. Make choices, HIS choices, actions that benefit people, by people. Move the lines for an economy "of everyday life" closer to the expectations of the populations. Create social and cultural diversity, meet each other… All good!

Discover the food cooperative: Park Slope Food Coop!

New York, Union Street, a beautiful 1930s building, the Park Slope Food Coop. A crazy world. It is teeming. Well-presented and well-stocked shelves. Superb vegetables. "The most beautiful vegetables in New York". And loads of other food "references" and more. There is organic, local and sometimes “not organic at all”.
The scoop is pragmatic and meets the needs of members, quite simply!
Each of the members, works 2:45 every 4 weeks, takes part in a wide variety of missions, from shelving at the cash desk, to help with delivery and reception ... Also the reception of products, in the early morning , like cleaning at the end of the day.
The Park Slope Food Coop, in 2010, had 16,000 members with a turnover of 39.4 million dollars. 16,000 members is the maximum, the cooperative has decided not to go beyond. Its premises can no longer be extended. It's not just volunteers, the Coop is organized with employees called coordinators, who oversee operations and teams. Managers known as general coordinators.

Food Coop, a model “on the move” in France!

Any allusion to Manu Macron would be a mistake. In short.
• Tom Boothe - an American in Paris - director of the film below - is the initiator (in Paris therefore) - of "La Louve", a food cooperative inspired by this first New York model. The cooperative has been established in the 18th arrondissement since 2015.

Other food cooperatives are opening all over France,in Belgium… :

• Supercoop in Bordeaux: A cooperative and participatory supermarket in the Bordeaux metropolitan area, is co-financed by the European Union with the European Social Fund.
• Superquinquin: The supermarket where you are the hero, in Lille, Fives district
• La Chouette Coop: in Toulouse
• Scopéli in Nantes
• The crate in Montpellier
• Bees Coop: in Brussels, Belgium

Food cooperative:

Supermarket chains, whose purchasing departments are often grouped together as a "central", and because of their weight and the size of their orders, put unreasonable pressure on farmers. Farmers who see themselves pushed towards an excessive and destructive exploitation of the land and without control of return prices or margins - sometimes (often) with the complacency of its large union FNSEA which is never ready to question productivity for better quality.

A vicious circle that is leading them more and more towards bankruptcy, suicide, disease too, because of the phyto products they use, which are legion among farmers and neighbors of crops.

This way of farming, said to be modern in the 1950s, is now obsolete, it is an "industry with no future".
It is urgent to reinvent an agricultural model respectful of nature, respectful of the inhabitants of the earth (us), respectful of consumers.

Granted, that’s a cliché, once I said that, I said nothing. But go and see Pierre Raby and Marc Dufumier and you will discover real avenues for reflection, very enriching! La Louve, the first food cooperative in Paris, works to introduce its members and more to this type of subject. There are recordings of very good speakers which shed some light on things. It’s a bit long, but it’s very, very interesting!
(If you want to go fast, Marc Dufumier talks about agro-ecology in the 10th minute of the video)

What is a food cooperative?

You know what a cooperative is. Basically, everyone is a shareholder in a cooperative scop company, through a membership fee. sometimes all the employees of the company are shareholders to varying degrees. the director can be elected by the employees, and depending on the operation, they can also be the decision maker of the company's orientations.

The food cooperative system responds to this description with a few nuances. Food cooperatives generally have the ambition to "source" good products from local producers, most often organic, without intermediaries.
The shareholders of the cooperative are also the customers. They work side by side to be able to have access to the scop supermarket, they must also volunteer their time in general, 2 or 3 hours per month, to help the cooperative in the management of the supermarket: the checkout, shelving, cleaning, Compta… In fact the products are cheaper and the shareholder-customers benefit from good products, generally 40% - expensive than at the supermarket, but this is not always the case.

In practice, the "democracy" of these cooperatives ranges from organization to the choice of products for sale. For example, during meetings (councils) shareholders-clients make proposals. The advantage of the method is that the "product" will only be offered for sale if there are customers ...

What is the organization of operations in food outlets, and how has it evolved in recent years?

Food distribution in France has come to the end of a cycle: the number of points of sale largely covers the national territory, the players are - too - numerous, and competition has developed through electronic models, hyperspecialized, or still inspired by hard discount, the market no longer obeys the rules that “formerly” governed it. The customer has never had so much choice in terms of offer and distribution channels. And its consumption habits, linked to technological progress in particular, tend more and more towards “Everything, immediately, and within reach”.

In this complex context, where it is more difficult to maintain its economic results, the hyper model, suffering, is called into question. And distributors have no choice, it's a matter of survival! It is indeed essential today to rethink the in-store organization in order to better control costs, save money, improve the operational experience and maintain profitability. Not easy, the impacts of a reorganization on the teams being important and proven on a daily basis ... but nevertheless not impossible. We "deliver" a solution to you!

The Cavac group takes over the company Atlantique Alimentaire located in La Rochelle

The Cavac group announces the takeover of the company Atlantique Alimentaire based in La Rochelle and specializing in frozen delicatessen products. This new acquisition in an agro-food company confirms the diversification strategy of the Cavac group, always in a logic of local sectors.

On January 21, the Cavac group officially takes over Atlantique Alimentaire, which previously belonged to CookUp Solutions. Based in La Rochelle, the Atlantique Alimentaire company specializes in frozen delicatessen products (savory pies and quiches, filled pancakes, pizzas, etc.). The bulk of sales are now intended for mass distribution (private labels), out-of-home catering, distributors specializing in frozen products as well as for export. The company has an annual turnover of 30 million euros and employs just over 160 people. Following this takeover, the current teams and management are retained.

Agribusiness in the local sector, a strong strategic focus

In recent years, the Cavac group has formed a network of agrifood SMEs in subsidiaries, either through acquisition or through equity investments. Olvac, Bioporc, Biofournil, Les P'tits Amoureux, Catel Roc, all these companies are located within an hour's drive around La Roche-sur-Yon and directly or indirectly use raw materials from farmers who are members of Cooperative. As such, Atlantique Alimentaire was already using local raw materials such as flour from a flour mill supplied by the cooperative.

This new acquisition is therefore fully consistent with the agrifood development strategy defined by the Board of Directors of the cooperative, and this with a triple objective:

1 / Look for levers of growth and added value which, benefiting the group, indirectly benefit the cooperative farmers.

2 / Consolidate outlets with local SMEs, consumers of raw materials from the farms of the members. This sector approach also responds directly to the expectations of consumers who favor locally sourced raw materials and who wish to reconnect with producers.

3 / The takeover of agri-food SMEs allows the Cavac group to better anticipate changes in food markets and the resulting agricultural material needs.

On the strength of this new processing activity, the Cavac Group intends to expand its agri-food know-how, by exploiting synergies between its subsidiaries, and with a stronger connection from agricultural upstream to downstream.

Press contact:
Céline BERNARDIN: [email protected] or on 06 13 37 65 75
Download the press release

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Food cooperative the new distribution?

A team of 11 people working for the agricultural cooperatives of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It deploys the 3 fixed missions by the Board of Directors:

Strengthen communication and the influence of agricultural cooperation

Develop regional supply chain and product promotion strategies

Provide expert support to cooperatives through advice and training

Find the service offer and the training catalog for agricultural cooperatives and their subsidiaries.

Seat : 3 avenue Léonard de Vinci - 33608 Pessac cedex

Wine section : Cité Mondiale, Parvis des Chartrons - 33000 Bordeaux

Limoges site : Boulevard des Arcades - 87000 Limoges

Phone: 05 56 00 78 60

The missions of La Coopération Agricole Nouvelle-Aquitaine

    Mission 1 : Strengthen communication and the influence of agricultural cooperation

  • Defend the cooperative model
  • Put the economy back at the center of the debate
  • Support the renewal of generations

    Mission 2 : Develop regional sector strategies

  • Engage cooperatives in the agroecological transition
  • Develop differentiation strategies based on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • Develop organic sectors
  • Promote cooperative products to supermarkets and RHD

    Mission 3 : Support cooperatives through advice and training

  • Strengthen the skills of administrators
  • Support cooperatives in their development project
  • Support innovation

Expertise at the service of agricultural cooperatives

Thanks to the skills developed within the framework of its missions, the team of employees of La Coopération Agricole Nouvelle Aquitaine deploys an offer of advice (union or in the form of a service) and training for cooperatives and their subsidiaries in the region. It is based on the following areas of expertise:

  • Corporate strategy and governance : strategic audit, support to the Board of Directors
  • Legal : cooperative law and specificity, implementation of partnership between cooperatives (union, merger, etc.) or creation of subsidiaries
  • Financing of cooperatives : research and assembly of help files
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by deploying in particular the 3d device
  • Quality, hygiene, security, environment (QHSE) : setting up of standards (ISO, IFS, BRC, Agriconfiance, Global Gap,.), TMD certification, energy diagnosis,.
  • Product promotion : develop an organic sector offering and adapt its organization, strengthen links with mass retailing or out-of-home catering (RHD)
  • Training of elected representatives of cooperatives and employees

Find the service offer and the training catalog for our members.


For a long time, the success of food brands has resulted in a race for market share through the opening of m2. The objective then was to be in the right place before the competitor. Today, only local distribution "opens up m2", because that is where the battle is taking place, the segment representing the largest increase in market share in PCG.

The evolution towards the success of this format is due to its very nature, better suited to the specific needs of customers: a smaller offer but which nevertheless remains rich, as at Monoprix, more accessibility, a multitude of services such as those offered by Franprix, better control of the average basket (less complementary or impulse purchases), a less impersonal experience and of course, less time spent on the sales floor. The other formats are on the decline because they do not meet the "fashionable" expectations of consumers.

In fact, today, people frequent a hypermarket more out of the need to shop for food, as close as possible to their home, while benefiting from a wide choice, than out of a deliberate desire to find "Everything under one roof". Self-service and strolling through the shelves with the family on Saturday afternoons, as was the case in the 60s / 70s, have had their day, especially as new consumption habits demand more service, more speed, and even question self-service. In short, we no longer want to spend time in hypermarkets. It is said ! And if some of them are doing well, it is because they meet criteria of ... proximity ! As are the supermarkets for the rest, which, benefiting from their geographical location (medium and small towns), achieve a majority of their turnover in their primary zone.

It also happens that certain hyperspecialized players are very well positioned in terms of price. This competition, which has exploded for a decade, and which fits perfectly with the current trend of “Better eating”, mainly concerns organic and fresh products. There are in fact nearly 30 "BIO" branded brands, totaling 2,700 points of sale and no less than 3 billion euros in turnover. As for Grand Frais, the brand is quite simply the favorite of the French for the year 2018, according to a study by OC&C,

In addition, it is now necessary to reckon with the electronic competition which progresses slowly but - very - surely. And yes, we are there! Customers now also have the choice of shopping for food on Amazon. Capable of delivering "cheap" and quickly, the electronic model of the juggernaut is likely to hurt the United States, when it is fully developed. We are not talking about France, whose internal market is no longer powerful enough to create giants capable of countering Amazon. The purchasing groups have tried to regroup but the task remains complicated. So what about a possible alliance between Carrefour and Casino? While it is true that with 8 very aggressive players in the domestic market, the sector is highly competitive. But in the end, Casino's strength in proximity and Carrefour's power in hypermarkets could constitute a merger that would make sense. Advice to specialists!


Become a cooperator

Investing in Terre d'Herbage means participating in an alternative economic project with a social purpose:

  • To support producers, artisans and farms on a human scale, who create jobs in our countryside and participate in unprecedented know-how. -
  • To support and allow you to have access to quality, tasty and diversified food, in a short circuit, in the Arrondissement of Verviers.
  • To encourage the consumption of environmentally friendly products.
  • To support sustainable local employment.
  • To finance the development of this ambitious cooperative and its many projects.
  • To integrate a citizen movement that brings together farmers, artisan-processors and consumers around a shared vision of agriculture and food.

What does being a cooperator involve?

By becoming a co-operator (and therefore co-owner), you participate in general meetings. You take part in the decisions of the cooperative according to the democratic rule "one man, one vote", in accordance with our statutes (available on request). You can propose projects and participate in the life of the cooperative.

It is the strength of all the cooperative members that will keep Terre d'Herbage alive and evolving!

Concretely, how to become a cooperator?

Different types of shares are possible:

- An A share corresponds to a "producer" share and amounts to € 500

- A B share corresponds to a "cooperator" share, accessible to natural or legal persons, and amounts to € 100

When a producer wishes to take A (producer) shares, his request must be accepted by the Board, which refers to the statutes and to the ROI in its decision.

The taking of B shares (cooperator) does not have to be validated beforehand.

1. Procedure to become a cooperator as a producer (part A):

Register using the following form: Registration

Wait for the validation which will be put on the agenda of the next Board of Directors and which will be communicated to you by email.

Pay the amount equivalent to the number of shares envisaged.

Payment is to be made to the IBAN account of the SCRLFS "Terre d'herbage": BE 58 1030 5500 0179 (BIC: NICABEBB)

>> Information to communicate your transfer: last name + first name + number of shares + type of shares (A)

2. Procedure for becoming a cooperator as a natural person (part B):

Register using the following form: Registration

Pay the amount equivalent to the number of shares envisaged.

Payment is to be made to the IBAN account of the SCRLFS "Terre d'herbage": BE 58 1030 5500 0179 (BIC: NICABEBB)

>> Information to communicate your transfer: last name + first name + number of shares + type of shares (B)

3. Procedure for becoming a cooperator as a legal person (part B):

Register using the following form: Registration

Pay the amount equivalent to the number of shares envisaged.

Payment is to be made to the IBAN account of the SCRLFS "Terre d'herbage": BE 58 1030 5500 0179 (BIC: NICABEBB)

>> Information to communicate about your transfer: name of your company + number of shares + type of shares (B)

The cooperative does not foresee financial profitability (dividends) on the acquisition of shares.
Currently, by becoming a cooperator, you benefit from a tax deduction of 45% on the amount of your investment. This deduction is applicable to shares purchased in own name not for those purchased for third parties.

You will be able to benefit from a tax deduction within the framework of the Tax Shelter

In fact, under the Tax Shelter, a tax reduction is planned for people investing in the capital of young companies.

The Tax Shelter is a tax incentive aimed at helping small start-up companies which may have difficulty raising capital. Citizens who invest in these companies benefit, if all conditions are met, from a tax reduction of 30% or 45% of the amount invested.

How much is the tax cut?

The reduction varies from 30% to 45% of the amount invested. As long as the cooperative meets at least two of the criteria applicable to micro-companies, the rate is 45%. It then increases to 30% as long as the criteria applicable to the companies concerned are met and until the cumulative amount of shares purchased by members who are eligible to receive the reduction reaches a ceiling of EUR 250,000.

Note that the cooperator must keep the shares of the cooperative for at least 4 years, unless the exit is imposed by external conditions (such as bankruptcy for example). In the event of voluntary exit before the 4-year period, the tax advantage must be reimbursed in proportion to the number of months between the exit and 4 years.

Operation of the cooperative

The functioning of Terre d'Herbage is based on the existence of committees which represent the various sectors (milk sector, meat sector, market gardening sector, processing sector) and which are in turn represented on the Board of Directors.

The project is financially supported by the Conference of Mayors, which is also a cooperator (institutional part) and represented on the Board of Directors.

In order to optimize the logistics tool for all participants, but also to think together about other development possibilities, we continue to organize meetings by sector. This is the place to express your needs and desires, share your fears, interact with colleagues who are facing the same difficulties and dream together to create sustainable alternatives together.

Concrete examples? Needs cited on several occasions are:

  • Shared cutting workshops
  • Management of unsold or surplus
  • Valorization of by-products (e.g. serum)
  • Group purchasing
  • Centralized emptying system
  • Shared and adapted storage rooms
  • Planning of concerted crops
  • Creation of an employer group (several producers can thus share a worker)
  • Development of a list of recommended prices

Our goals

Terre d'Herbage aims to bring together sustainable food stakeholders across the Verviers district. And so :

  • Support local producers and the development of local production by creating an innovative distribution network and shared tools
  • Offer consumers quality food distributed in a circular economy
  • Set up a creative dynamic of exchange and links
  • Establish an alternative system that is viable in the long term
  • Promote food sovereignty in the region

Our choices

Terre d'Herbage aims to encourage the diversification of production in order to restore food self-sufficiency in the region and to allow farmers to keep the added value of their production. Consumers demand a production system that respects their health and the environment in which they can trust.

Depending on the sector, it is more or less easy to change old habits. Change requires not only know-how, but also: investments with a return that is not always immediate, access to land, precise knowledge of regulations, a favorable climate and, above all, a fair price paid by the consumer. And despite everyone's good will, some changes take time.

The Terre d'Herbage cooperative has expressed, as part of the company's social purpose, the desire to exclude the use of synthetic phytosanitary products, with the objective of gradually leading farmers to it thanks to its support. The partner farms of the project are all part of a family farming model that excludes aboveground operation, that is to say which is based on livestock grazing for a large part of the year with a winter ration of grass as well. Some of the producers still have, to a limited extent, resorted to a feed that incorporates the use of a supplement from sustainable conventional agriculture.

Terre d'Herbage has chosen to welcome these producers, who need support as much as anyone else. We are convinced that awareness raising and collaboration between producers will, in the medium term, lead the borough's farms to meet the social purpose formulated in the statutes, for the good of all.

Video: Whats to love about food co-ops?

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