By Nolwenn Huchet
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Customers in certain shops in the Pays de Redon have no doubt noticed it: the “Terres de Breizh” chips are standing along the shelves. While the Katell production plant has just started its activity.
At the head of this brand new tool located in the business park Les landes de Sainte-Anne in Allaire: Jean-Michel and Laurent Gicquel, 57 and 52, two children from Pays de Redon. “It was our parents artisans trading catering companies in Sainte-Marie de Redon … We were then at all association parties and other banquets to help them. “Their role?” The potato work! From the age of 13-14, every weekend. But it was not forced. It was the time, the 1970s! “
The trigger during the health crisis
Many years of work behind boilers and pots have created them a state of mind and given them one show taste for work. The two brothers leave, each in his own branch. The eldest likes to test recipes, cook in the heart. His younger brother runs his business in between trade, research and development.
“We have been working together for many years for our separate companies in complementarity. We often mentioned the idea of doing something in our region. We had to find one sustainable projectHowever! Then the health crisis pushed us to go further in our commitments. This was the trigger: all these products come from abroad! It was time for us to realize our desire: to produce quality, by supplying ourselves as closely as possible and by selling to the nearest. »
Because the short circuit is to put a first name, a face on a supplier, a combine harvester. Clearly, rediscover common sense farmer!
does not! »
A paradoxical phenomenon
The potato will also be their ally, those who, with press clippings in support, protest against a paradoxical phenomenon: “France, 2nd producer of potatoes in Europe, exports potatoes for more than 500 million euros per year, however imports salted chips or chips worth 132 million euros ! »
It’s too much for these two lovers of good taste, who also do not hesitate to mention François Bayrous’ tweet on the subject: “We sell outside, but we buy so derived products as chips instead of producing them here.” With a catastrophic carbon footprint along the way … «This agri-food industry no longer responds to consumer demand. They no longer believe in low prices that can offer quality and respect for the original product and the environment. The diversity of recipes and misleading messages is largely lacking in sincerity . »
30 employees in 2024
On the shelves recently, will the Breton chips from the Gicquel brothers find their place among the giants of the market? “We’re starting to market it and we’re already getting one Very nice homedistributors engaged in increasing local and qualitative supplies to their customers. It is very encouraging and it motivates us to continue in this process by developing new spices and long awaited buckwheat chips. »
The company Katell can then imagine a peaceful future for its chips, regional, departmental and local politicians are by their side in the adventure. The municipality of Allaire at the helm, welcomes such a company in its territory. “Jean-François Mary, Mayor of Allaire and President of the Redon Agglomeration, believed in our project, we are no strangers. We go back to basics. We were looking for a place between Rennes and Nantes to have impeccable road infrastructure. Here in Allaire we found the right country that met the specifications.On arrival, it is also a significant new source of jobs as the team should have around thirty employees by 2024.
The impact of the war in Ukraine
The only shadow in this almost perfect birth: the crisis in Ukraine. “We have been confronted with everything that is happening right now. With the more expensive raw materials and building materials, we did not enter a favorable period for establishing a business. As for sunflower oil, you should know that 80% come from Ukraine … We do our best to make ends meet. »
From there, to think of a French oil, our two men allow themselves this new dream. “To see our ideas come to an end, as most of our products come from Brittany, from potatoes to onions and salt. With ultimately the ambition of a top-of-the-range and high quality crisps. »
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