A conversation with Coline Burland, co-founder and Head of Product Development of Omie, about radical transparency, transition for the farmers, consumers as part of the transition, quality products, fair prices and much more.
LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION ON:
Most of the food we consume has been processed and comes in a container or a box. How does the regenerative transition take place there and how do you work in such a long value chain? How much the farmer make from this can of tomato sauce? What do the producer, the brand and the retailer make?
PRICE OF FOOD
There are some products that we are not doing because it’s too far from the market price, and sometimes we cannot explain it, says Coline.
”To create a category like we are doing with regenerative products to end customers, it’s a real challenge to make it understandable, not to give too much information, but just the right context. So, they understand ‘Oh, that’s better, for me, it is better for the world, and that’s a good price’. Because we really want to have some really good price at Omie, we are not the cheapest, we will never be the cheapest, but we are talking about what is a fair price, and giving the full transparency about the price is helping customer to understand. ‘I understand why my tomato can is not costing below one euro, as you can see in supermarket, but it’s more costing, maybe two euros. We are more- about 20 to 25 person hired- than a classic private label. So, this is helping to understand what is the price of food, which is, I think, a big battle if you want to have a better agricultural system and food system. It is really to say, okay, maybe our food system as the food we’re buying today is too cheap.” – Coline Burland
”Are we paying fair prices to the farmers and to the makers? We launched by asking them price with the division between what is the price of raw materials and what is the price of packaging and the manufacturing side, in order to have a vision about what is the structure of price. And, as we have begun with a lot of transparency, it helps to have fair price because we can really understand what is happening.” – Coline Burland
”It’s like pickles in France: we’re super fond of pickles, but also because they’re grown in India now and nobody knows it, that’s why they’re super they’re really cheap. But if you want to have a cucumber, so it’s the base of pickles from France, it’s like five times the price. So you need to find ways, maybe we’re not going to launch pickles this year because the price is so difficult to understand for the end customers that we need to go through different steps before talking about that. So mainly, transparency is a way to have fair price.” – Coline Burland
THE POWER OF RADICAL TRANSPARENCY
At Omie they give all the details. Customers have the full transparency about who is earning what, which is a big asset for them.
”When you’re doing your grocery and when you’re paying […] you will have what is the part that goes back to the farmers, which part goes back to the makers, and which goes back to the logistic for Omie and what is our margin for Omie. So that was also a big thing for customers to be able to see this transparency. So that is making the big difference. It’s really to give the whole context to consumer.” – Coline Burland
”Now when you scan a product, because we have a QR code on our product, if you don’t have the app, so you’re not an Omie customer, you arrive on a page of the product where you’re going to find what is the part for the farmer, what is best for the maker and what is the part for regenerative transition because we are giving to farmers’ project one percent of our turnover, if it’s made directly or it is made through selling product to retail. So, this is working, end customers, as I was saying, they want the context, and the context important for them is what the farmers is earning and what the maker is earning. And that’s it.’ – Coline Burland
WHO PAYS FOR THE TRANSITION
Coline asks what is the way to have high environmental state products, and lower prices. They need a pocket of money, in order not to decrease their environmental standard, and have a good price. ‘We don’t need to lower again the price of food; we need to give back the value of food.’
”First, it’d be some common agricultural policies, it’d be to have a different accounting system that can take out the price of transition from the price of the product. We have done it for some, but this is really helping to say ‘Okay if we want to have food that is at a good price and that can address a mainstream market, what is the effort we need to make and which is the amount of money we need to find to really pay this transition’.” – Coline Burland
”So, we have been able to take it from the price of the transition. So, like really what is the cost of transition, you know, in one tonne of mustard seeds and what is the price in one kilogramme of mustard? And to be able to take it from the price and to pay it through the one per cent that we are giving back to the farmers and not putting into the price paid by the end consumer, which has allowed us to have a good French mustard to the end customer and not having a luxury product. […] It’s a big product because really the price is accessible. And so this is a really a way to be able to finance, it’s a real like concrete solution.” – Coline Burland
OTHER POINTS DISCUSSED
Koen and Coline also talked about:
- How to differentiate yourself from online organic retail?
- Organic farming and conservation practices
- How has the interest in soil nutrients changed?
- Nutrient density in food series
- Pierre Weill – After certifying the quality of over $3B of animal protein a year, now turning to vegetables
- Pierre Weill on selling 2b euro a year of animal protein as anti inflammatory food
- Pietro Galgani on paying the true price for food and agriculture products and how to get there
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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.