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Yoann Alarçon, Manager of Traditional and Fresh Products at Carrefour:

“We removed winter strawberries from our shelves, to please our clients”

On January 6th, Yoann Alarçon shared on Twitter his first decision as the Manager of Traditional and Fresh Products at Carrefour, which is to eliminate the strawberry offer in January in all Carrefour supermarkets.

Yoann Alarçon’s decision on Twitter

A highly symbolic decision which has not failed to provoke reactions and emanates from Carrefour’s will to meet the needs of its customers. “I decided to eliminate strawberries from our stores in January, partly to please our clients who want more freshness, but also to make them aware of the importance of consuming locally. With this commitment, we want to draw the attention of our clients to other products such as the varieties of old apples, or to the work we’ve accomplished regarding the fair trade of bananas for example,” explains Yoann Alarçon.

“A large majority of our clients understands and supports this decision”
The team with Carrefour says to have received a lot of support as well as thanks for having met the expectations of its clients with this commitment. Most of them understand and even claim to be looking forward to seeing the first strawberries on the shelves next month. "Most of the feedback has been positive. As for those who really wanted some strawberries for baking, for example, we directed them to our range of frozen strawberries of very good quality. In the end, our decision is not meant to be moralizing. The goal of Carrefour is to offer quality products and not to judge those who want to consume strawberries in the winter. And as far as they are concerned, we must give them an alternative.”

“Everyone wins by offering quality strawberries”
Before implementing this decision, Carrefour warned its suppliers ahead of time. “Our decision was met with understanding. They are fully aware that the quality of their products around this time of year is not optimal. So everyone loses if we offer bad quality strawberries. The suppliers because their merchandise can be rejected, the stores because they can suffer losses, the customers because they do not enjoy consuming the product, and the planet because we transported a fruit which, in the end, did not give satisfaction.”

“Any transition must be carried out progressively”
According to Yoann Alarçon, “the goal is to proceed step by step. We will not transform our fruit and vegetable shelves overnight. Any change must be made with time and support. It is the accumulation of small actions that will bring significant change. That’s why we decided to start with the strawberries, and over a short period of time. They will be back on the shelves around mid-February when they will be more qualitative. We also want to show our clients what matters, which is not really the size or color of the product, but its taste. If we are not able to supply a quality product during certain periods of the year, as it is the case for strawberries in January, then it is important to question ourselves by removing the offer in favor of other more interesting products in terms of taste, and waiting a few weeks to offer quality strawberries again. I am absolutely convinced that in a month, we will have better strawberries than we do right now.”

“Today, the debate is not just about prices, but about value for money” 
No longer offering strawberries in January is also in line with Carrefour’s desire to make quality its strength, particularly through its Act for Food program: “Carrefour has committed itself to serve its clients with tasty, fresh and local products. We therefore need to make a few adjustments to our fruit and vegetable offer. We also want to communicate to our suppliers so that they offer us tasty varieties and unusual products. Because today, the debate is not just about prices but about value for money. A product that is not good, even if it is cheap because of promotional actions, will always be too expensive. In line with our slogan, ‘Food transition for all’, we believe the notion of quality is inseparable from the notion of price.” 

“We will tend to favor suppliers who offer products from good agro-ecological practices”
Yoann Alarçon adds that in addition to taste quality, Carrefour is now looking for fruit and vegetables produced in an environmentally friendly way. “We will give preference to the suppliers who can offer us well-grown products, such as without pesticide residues, or products from good agro-ecological practices. Carrefour wants to change the rules of the game in order to better meet the expectations of its clients. And we are the ones who must adapt and bring them what they are looking for. All our decisions are the result of active listening during panel discussions and customer surveys.”

Other similar decisions will be discussed in the coming months. But what is certain is that Yoann Alarçon is well determined to repeat the operation next year.

For more information:
Matthieu Lovery
Directeur de Marché Fruits et Légumes, Fleurs et Plantes  
Phone: 06 38 89 37 98  

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