The Paul Paulet cannery is one of two industrial sites (along with Quimper) and the historic birthplace of the Petit Navire brand, the leader in fish canning in France. Petit Navire employs two hundred people on permanent contracts in Douarnenez (Finistère), 800 in Brittany and 1,000 on all of its sites.
The Breton brand founded in 1932 was acquired in 2010 from the Trilantic Capital Partners fund (formerly Lehman Brothers) by the Thai multinational Thaï Union. Interview with Alexis Jacquand, CEO of Petit Navire.
Present in more than 15 million homes
How is Petit Navire doing?
Canning has established itself as a safe haven during confinement. It is a market that has increased its sales by 8% compared to 2019. Since then, market sales have gradually returned to pre-Covid levels. In the first quarter of 2022, market sales fell slightly (-3%). At the same time, Petit Navire (tuna, smoked salmon, mackerel, sardines) posted growth of 3%. As a strong leader, we are driving this market.
For example, in 2021, we had a historic market share of 32%, two points more than the year before. We are present in more than 15 million homes in France, we recruit new buyers over time. In the context, we are facing cost inflation and supply difficulties.
Fifteen new recipes
You are going to make 1.5 million euros in investments on the Douarnenez site…
This is twice as much as in previous years, an investment aimed at improving the production tool. This is to support the growth objectives of 12% to reach 31 million boxes by 2025.
You are also launching “Douarnenez Recipes”…
Fifteen references from fish are prepared on the Douarnenez site, which concentrates products with higher added value, such as marinated tuna flakes, salads or spreads with in particular a new recipe, tuna flakes marinated in garlic, which completes the range. All the recipes meet a nutriscore A or B specification. Today we are rediscovering the virtues of these products.
Sourcing from certified fisheries
After the actions of Greenpeace in 2016, have you given up on fish aggregating devices?
We have worked hard for six years on the implementation of actions at the level of the sector. We are not fishermen ourselves. We work with fisheries that use different types of fishing, including fish aggregating devices (FADs), as well as free school, pole and line, seine fishing.
The challenge is to ensure that supplies are made from certified fisheries, according to criteria that we believe are sound from an environmental and social point of view, i.e. either MSC labeled or in transition. towards the MSC criteria (for Marine Stewardship Council ). We have chosen this MSC label which we consider to be a solid label for monitoring the quantities caught and fishing methods.
A strike took place on this site, in 2020, after the decision to outsource the accounting service to India…
Seven people were involved in this reorganization. Six have found a job, sometimes within the company, the seventh is in training to change professional activity. When setting up a project of this type, concern for individual support is essential.