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Kultive diversifies with white and graffiti varieties:

“Our goal is to exceed 2,000 tons of purple eggplants next year”

Alexandre Picault, managing director of Kultive, reviews the 2023 eggplant campaign and discusses future development and diversification projects.

Alexandre Picault and Arthur Foulon at Fruit Attraction.

Purple eggplants: volumes on the rise
The French eggplant campaign is coming to an end. This is a product that Kultive wants to further develop, according to Alexandre Picault. "In 2020, we sold 1,200 tons and last year, we were due to sell 1,500 tons, but hail, unfortunately, impacted our production." This year, the company will exceed 1,700 tons sold from March to October. The objective for 2024 is to exceed 2,000 tons! Volumes produced by Sopa producers (Loire valley) to develop the market in the northern half of France.

The Kultive production is 100% French and certified GlobalGap, HEV3, and Demain la Terre / Photo credit: Philippe Montigny.

Yann Jacques, eggplant producer / Photo credit: Philippe Montigny.

French eggplants used to face stiff competition from Spain during the summer months, but the French production has now made a name for itself. "French operators are able to fully cover market needs from June to October. It is up to us to convince supermarkets to place French produce earlier on their shelves" because, according to Alexandre, the domestic market "still leaves a few possibilities." In terms of calibers, we need to make a few adjustments, as distributors' choice of large sizes is not necessarily in line with consumer demand. "One-third of the market wants sizes under 300g, so the difficulty is to succeed in adding value to these smaller sizes."

Although widely consumed, eggplants are little studied. That is why Kultive, with the support of CTIFL and Tomatoes and Cucumbers of France, is currently carrying out a market/consumption data analysis. Results are expected in early 2024 / Photo credit: Philippe Montigny.

Diversification with white and graffiti varieties
In 2024, Kultive intends to diversify into the production of white and graffiti eggplants. These are niche products that are particularly popular with specialized wholesalers and some markets in Paris. Thirty tons of graffiti and 15 tons of white eggplants should be sold next year. "It is a trial run," explains Alexandre. "We first want to see if it works before launching into larger volumes, as these are more difficult varieties to grow. So we are starting small, building up each year and opening up these lines."

Future projects
The next few years promise to be rich for Kultive. At the beginning of 2023, the company launched a mushroom cultivation project, the results of which will be announced in a few weeks. Greenhouse projects are also underway, with start-up scheduled for 2025. "Additionally, we are working with one of our southern parent companies, Arterris, to complement and develop all our product ranges," explains Alexandre Picault.

For more information:
Alexandre Picault
190 allée du Bois Vert
45640 Sandillon, France
Tel.: 02 38 49 33 49

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