The Belgian group Ardo (€1 billion turnover 2019, 4,000 people), the European leader in frozen vegetables, fruit and herbs, has 21 production sites in nine countries (Belgium, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal and Costa Rica) where it processes 940,000 tonnes of vegetables, fruits and aromatic herbs from 3,500 growers. The group is also increasing the vegetable growing areas and production to balance its supplies and spread out the climatic risks, as well as to respond to the trend of “consume locally”.
France accounts for 20% of the group’s volumes with five factories, the largest of which is the Gourin site, which also houses the headquarters of its French subsidiary. In recent years Ardo has invested €32M in its automated distribution centre in Gourin, where 32,000 pallets can be stored and processed. The group has also completely renovated its water treatment plant for €6 million, and is launching a €44M investment plan that will be staggered over the next five years. It will use this investment to increase its production and packaging capacity, particularly for organic products, which currently accounts for 10% of its volumes and which the group would like to double.
Particular attention will also be paid to food safety, by increasing the automatic control systems and optical sorters on production lines to optimise the hunt for foreign objects sometimes found in processed vegetables. In addition, new ranges and new packaging will be created to enhance the value of the products. The Gourin site currently processes 85,000 tonnes of spinach, green beans, peas, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and other vegetables supplied by 350 Bretagne producers every year. The site will have a capacity of 120,000 tonnes upon completion of the work.
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