In this manufacturer close up, we head to Milton Keynes to talk to Brioche Pasquier foodservice sales manager Jon Turonnet. Brioche Pasquier has a fascinating history and is making a name for itself in the UK.
Brioche ticks a lot of boxes for consumers: on-the-go snacking, ideal for kids and their lunch boxes, you can eat them at any time of day, and they are versatile in both sweet and savoury meals.
We spoke to Jon about Brioche Pasquier’s history, the product range, and plans for the future.
Tell me more about Brioche Pasquier
We have an incredibly interesting history. It all started in 1936 by Gabriel Pasquier in a small bakery in Les Cerqueux, in the West of France. In 1974, his five sons began building the family business into “Brioche Pasquier”.
Over the years we have built a strong reputation in other countries including the UK, Spain, USA, and Asia. Brioche Pasquier believes strongly in being close to its consumers. This is why in 2014 we built a world-class production facility in Milton Keynes to service the UK market.
Customers in the UK are surprised when they find out how big the family-owned business is. Our turnover is around €700m, with more than 3,000 employees, and 18 production facilities across the world including in France, Spain, and the USA.
One of my favourite stories is the agricultural side of the business. This is where Gabriel delivered bread to the local farmers and soon after, they asked if he could provide cattle food as well. Since then, we still have an “Agri Division” in the group as it is very important for us to keep the link with our suppliers of flour, milk and fresh eggs, just like how Gabriel did back then.
The agriculture division accounts for 5 percent of total turnover.
Talk to me about the range
When the company first started, the five sons concentrated on the traditional French brioche. Over the last four decades, Brioche Pasquier has expanded the range and now offers high quality pâtisserie (Macarons, Tartelettes, and Éclairs); biscotte (Mini Toast, Croutons, and Tartines de Pains); and viennoiserie (Pains au Lait, Pains au Chocolat and Croissants au Beurre).
In addition to the brioche range, we launched PITCH, chocolate filled and chocolate chip brioches individually wrapped ideal for school lunch boxes and kids on the go
How has the UK expansion gone and what are the plans?
It has gone very well. We have had a presence in the UK since 2001 when our products were stocked in supermarkets including Somerfield and Safeway. We originally had an office in Maidstone but moved to Milton Keynes in 2005.
We made the decision to manufacture products in the UK with the first line going live in 2015, and the second line operating from 2017. We plan to install a third line by 2020. We have many exciting plans for the UK and are hopeful of continued success.
What are the business goals going forward?
My main focus is to develop the foodservice side of the company in all brioche, pâtisserie and biscotte ranges, as there is a huge potential for our products in many different industries such as travel and hospitality.
How did you find out about Erudus, and what have been the benefits?
In January we became an approved supplier for Fairway Foodservice, a leading buying and marketing foodservice group. We were made aware of Erudus during the application process and it seemed a no brainer.
We’ve only been subscribers of Erudus since January but are already seeing and feeling benefits. As more wholesalers and caterers use our products, we don’t have to submit product specification to them as it’s easily accessible online.
And as we launch more products, we only need to submit the information once to ensure clients receive all the requested details in a timely manner.
Also, it helps caterers identify different ways to use the product, for example Pains au Lait as a gourmet hot dog roll; Macarons for cake decorations; and Mini Toast for canapés.