Cult of vegetables - Bonduelle
Bonduelle Polska SA is a dynamically developing branch of the Bonduelle Group, the world’s leader in processed vegetables. The company carries out its activity in 40 production facilities situated all over the world and its brand- Bonduelle is present in 80 countries nowadays.Focusing on three vegetable technologies (canned, frozen and fresh ones), Bonduelle keeps on widening the range of its products and introducing innovative solutions, which is possible thanks to extensive know-how in vegetables processing.
Bonduelle in Poland
The roots of Bonduelle go back to the 19th century, when Louis Bonduelle commenced business activity in the farm and food industry in France. The company started developing rapidly and soon specialized in canned vegetables. The scope of production was later widened to include frozen vegetables, and finally, in the 90s, fresh processed vegetables. Currently, Bonduelle is an expert on vegetables in all forms, regardless of the technology used. Owing to the expansion to foreign markets, which commenced in the 60s, the brand is present in over 80 countries nowadays. In July 1992, The Bonuelle settled down in Poland. The breakthrough moment was 1994, when the production plant in Gniewkowo near Toruń was purchased and modernized. Owing to the Polish raw material used in the production and the cooperation with Polish farmers, the facility can produce 40.000 tons of frozen and canned vegetables a year. Bonduelle Polska has achieved a great success in Poland; within just a few years’ presence in the market it has become an indisputable leader in the canned vegetables sector with 40% market share, as well as the leader in processed vegetables in the HORECA market. Another significant milestone in the development of Bonduelle Polska was its entrance to the stock exchange in France. Recently, the Bonduelle Group has made the purchase of the French company France Champignion, which used to have 6 production sites in Europe. For Bonduelle Polska, it entails a takeover of the Polish branch of that company – Interchamps, together with its plant in Ruchocice.
„Smashing hit” vegetables
The Bonduelle vegetables are available both in retail and the HORECA sectors, which helps to build brand awareness among customers. In Poland the brand’s popularity results from the presence in the media. The consumers can still remember the first TV commercial, aired in 1996, entitled “Przebojowe warzywa Bonduelle” (“Smashing hit Bonduelle vegetables”), where the popular “Singin’ in the Rain” song was used. As for the vegetables produced in Poland, the Gniewkowo plant takes particular pride in both canned and frozen peas, broccoli and courgette, as well as beans. Among the flagship products of Bonduelle there are also canned corn, garden peas and mixed vegetables. One of the greatest achievements of Bonduelle in Poland was introduction and popularization of broccoli. The concern presented the Polish agronomists with the technology for growing this vegetable, which quickly gained ground in Poland. Currently, broccoli is the number one best-selling product of Bonduelle. It is available both in the frozen form as “Różyczki Brokuła” (“Broccoli”), and also as the ingredient of „Mieszanka Królewska” (“Royal Mix”). It is also noteworthy, that the Bonduelle broccoli are grown in Poland. What determines the popularity of the Bonduelle products is the high quality of food as well as the company’s ability to follow the consumer trends. In the frozen food sector one can easily notice the growth of interest in stir-fry dishes, which stems from the fact that consumers appreciate the short time of their preparation. Therefore, the company anticipates those needs by introducing four new dishes, two soups and two stir-fry dishes, which are entering the market in May. The soup made of young vegetables and the broccoli soup, as well as the stir-dry dish with potatoes and the stir-fry dish with broccoli are well-tried solutions for tasty and healthy dinner which can be prepared in a dozen or so minutes. What is more, Bonduelle begins to sell the frozen cauliflower again. All frozen products are to be presented in packages with a new lavish graphic layout. 2010 is definitely the year of innovation – recently, two new canned products have appeared in shops, meaning “Kukurydza Złocista z Oliwkami” („Golden Corn with Olives”) and “Kukurydza Złocista z Suszonymi Pomidorami” (”Golden Corn with Dried Tomatoes”). Both mixes are extremely tempting due to crispy, sweet corn, with no extra sugar added, which is accompanied by tasty dried tomatoes or delicate green and black olives, all soaked in the aromatic olive oil with parsley. New mixes pose culinary challenges, making it possible for everyone to invent personalized and imaginative combinations. Bonduelle is the company focused on development, which entails experimenting and launching new products on a regular basis.
The factor which wins customer trust is primarily high quality of the products on offer. That is why Bonduelle gives special attention to the issue of quality control and makes sure that the processes of production, processing and packaging comply with rigorous European and local regulations. The key word in the quality control is „traçabilité” (from French tracer - track), which means that meticulous checks are made at every step in the production process, starting with seeding. As part of cooperation with farmers from the Gniewkowo area, Bonduelle experts supervise the farmlands, provide carefully selected seeds, recommend cultivation methods, control crops and set up a harvesting date. Those procedures can guarantee that all the vegetables are carefully selected and come from the reliable source. Later on, extensive bacteriological and chemical analyses are conducted in laboratories, which can ensure product safety as well as the taste, smell and nutritional values of each and every vegetable. Moreover, the Group conducts consumer tests which are supposed to verify that the products meet all expectations. All the Bonduelle plants act according to the ISO 9002 norm, which resulted in writing a supplier’s charter. It serves as a guide for partner farmers, and therefore extends the ISO 9001 certification of industrial facilities. Additionally, the company promotes innovation, thereby co-financing and making technological investments on a wide scale, which aims at reaching the product of prime quality.
The strategy of Bonduelle, both in Poland and in the world, is based on such concepts as: long-term focus, growth, food safety, environmental responsibility, profitability, brand policies, innovation, agro-industrial involvement, international development, individual development. Of the key elements of the strategy is ecology. Bonduelle strives to respect the natural environment, which requires that the company pursues a strategy of sustainable development, concerning agricultural production, workforce, quality and nutrition, natural resources and transport. When it comes to agricultural production, Bonduelle promotes environmentally responsible agronomic solutions, which is to reduce the use of agrochemicals and herbicides. In order to protect vegetables from pests, the company strengthens the strategy of studying the biological characteristics of the pests caught, thereby avoiding the systematic spraying of crops. As for the personnel policy, the Bonduelle Group strives to be an attractive employer and optimize working conditions for its 8400 employees (from who 250 are employed in Poland). To meet the goal, in 2008 the company launched a major workplace conditions survey. Moreover, Bonduelle discerns the benefits of diversity at work, which gave the Group a boost to sign an agreement with the Handipol foundation, committing to having disabled employees account for at least 5% of the total workforce in France, which constitutes about 50 people. The aim of the campaign is to give a new look at the disabled and to involve all the employees in a long-term activity. Apart from paying particular attention to quality control, Bonduelle concentrates also on promoting a healthy lifestyle. One of the key elements of the company’s philosophy is the concern for a balanced diet and nutritional qualities of the products. Since the company wants to be associated with healthy, natural and non-GMO vegetables, it provides GDA labels and specific information concerning nutritional content. Furthermore, in 2004 the Foundation Louis Bonduelle was established, which promotes long-term initiatives to improve dietary habits and reduce children’s obesity. Preservation of the environment is also manifested in the company’s efforts to reduce the energy and water consumption as well as optimize containers. Bonduelle tries to minimize transportation of vegetables between plants and implements new solutions aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in transportation.
Bonduelle has earned a reputation as a strong brand in Poland, which fills the management with pride and joy. According to March 2010 PBS DGA survey, which measured brand awareness among consumers, brand recognition was as much as 89%, brand recall 59%, while top of mind awareness was 41%, which constitutes a great result in comparison with competitors. Bonduelle is easily recognized thanks to its presence, but not only in the media. In 2010 Bonduelle supported the 17th Final of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity in Gdańsk, when the company’s employees were cooking the 6.5-litre soup made of the Bonduelle vegetables, which was distributed among the concert participants. In March 2010 the company was involved in the organization of a regional competition for catering colleges from the Mazowieckie voivodship in the training centre Dora Metal. The company funded the awards and vegetables for the competitors. Moreover, on every July 14, the French national holiday, Bonduelle sponsors vegetables during cultural events organized by the French Embassy. It is also involved in various festivities and, together with The Foundation for Health Promotion, it has organized outdoor cooking events in Warsaw for a few times. Owing to its presence among people Bonduelle can make people aware that good nutrition is a necessary condition for healthy and enjoyable life.
Written by Anna Chudzik