‘Who’s the boss?!’, the Consumers’ Brand is finally being launched in Italy. As well as in Spain, Morocco, Greece, Germany and the USA. The project started in 2016, when a French group of consumers founded the ‘C’est qui le patron?!’ association. Who is the boss, i.e. the protagonist of the supply chain, if not the consumer himself? Here’s what’s going on.
The consumers’ brand movement ‘C’est qui le patron?!’, a French initiative
‘C’est qui le patron?!’, the Consumers’ Brand movement started in France in 2016. Following a trip to the supermarket, Nicolas Chabanne created the brand when he realized that consumers deserve more power in deciding which products would be ideally placed on the shelves. Since its launch, Nicolas Chabanne has received the support of a consumers group, in order to share views on the products values to focus on.
The private label success is primarily due to the price-quality and other relevant factors. The Consumers’ Brand focuses the attention on a set of factors, which are based on the following values:
– sustainability (socio-environmental aspects),
– animal welfare and nutrition,
– fair compensation to the production chain actors, and their workers,
– transparency on products origin and ingredients provenance,
– nutrition labelling on ultra processed foods,
– supervision and audits on the whole supply-chain.
In just two years ‘C’est qui le patron?!’ has reached the attention of 8 million consumers who buy every day one of the 18 Consumers’ Brand products in over 12,000 points of sale in France.
The Consumers’ Brand, what to know
The Consumers’ Brand created an association of the same name, which includes, among others, ourselves. The objective of this non-profit approach is to allow consumers (the key actors) to exercise their decision-making power, while emphasizing crucial values such as the integrity of the supply chain. (1) The ABCs of the integrated supply chain, as follows:
A) consumers are the first included, through online questionnaires, aimed to share views on the importance of single attributes within the value of each food product,
B) selected producers (and/or their organizations) who adhere to the expressed values hence commit to creating products, which respect the criterion defined by associations of specific disciplines. This also guarantees that products can be traced throughout the supply chain, from farm to fork.
C) retailers are free to decide whether they want to purchase and distribute the Consumers’ Brand products. The goal is to maintain the recommended fair and just price without penalizing any key actors of the supply chain.
The Consumer Brand, examples and prospects
Milk from the Consumer Brand, a good example from France, was the sought after products of French origin, whose cows are fed local forage, no GM, and kept at pasture for at least six months a year, produced within a radius of 70 km. Therefore, the ‘C’est qui le patron?!’ branded UHT milk costs 0.99 €/l, compared to an average price of 0.67 €/l. Additionally, farmers who have met quality standards, have seen their profits increase by + 0,20€/l.
‘C’est qui le patron?!’ currently offers approximately 20 products in France, starting with staple foodstuffs, such as milk and dairy products, eggs, honey, pasta, canned vegetables and chocolate, just to name a few. Its butter was awarded ‘innovation’ of the year in 2018. Thanks to support from those encouraging the transition to organic farming, producers have been able to be fairly paid with an additional 0,15€ per unit sold. Honey also saw a 0,15€ increase per jar of honey sold, which will also contribute to the protection of beehives and their habitats.
And this is only the beginning, as consumers begin to change their consumer behavior. The range of products available for local consumption is expected to increase simultaneously with the development of good and fair products, and in line with sectorial changes to the agricultural supply chain. ‘C’est qui le patron?!’ already ranks 22nd in the French market, with a penetration rate of 14%.
The movement is quickly gaining traction all across Europe, from Belgium, Germany, Spain to Greece, as well as in Morocco and the US. Focus has therefore equally shifted to giving greater value to ‘Made in’ products in the international market. An opinion that was shared by most consumers, regardless of their country of origin. The revolution has arrived and we will all be a part of it.
(1) Without acknowledging the unfair commercial practices, which must be eliminated from every aspect of the supply chain.
About the author:
Dario Dongo is a journalist and lawyer with a PhD in international food laws and founder of WIISE (FARE – GIFT – Food Times) and co-founder of Fatto Alimentare.