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I came across something massive when I was in Paris at the end of March of this year.
I had been asked by Kantar to speak at their 50th anniversary celebrations. It was to be in one of the gorgeous old theatres in the Opera district, in front of 800 people. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited, but very daunted. One of the first things I did was to look up the other speakers, to find out who I was up against… and this is when I came across the sensational French insurgent grocery brand called C’est Qui le Patron, which translates as Who’s the Boss.
As C’est Qui le Patron is going to be called The Consumer Brand here in the UK, I’ll call it that from now on.
The Consumer Brand is a cross-category brand that has been created and is managed by consumers, to ensure fair prices to farmers and producers.
It was launched 2 years ago in one of the most traditional, inflexible, difficult to negotiate, costly grocery markets in Europe – in my humble experience that is.
And yet in only 2.5 years, it has revolutionised more than a few grocery categories in France, is turning over €120M in Sales, has a portfolio of more than 30 products, and is already bought buy 11 million French households. And here’s the thing: all of this was done with NO advertising, NO field sales, and very little traditional negotiation with grocery buyers.
So besides the fact that I think all of you listeners out there need to know about this massive thing that’s happening in French Grocery, and is coming your way VERY soon, and even start planning for it, I also want to explore the drivers behind this incredible growth. I spoke to the founder Nicolas Chabanne a few weeks ago, and the interview is available in both French and
Listen to Episode 9 to hear Nicolas Chabannes tell us all about The Consumer Brand, launching immenently in UK Grocery Retail and potentially turning lots of things on their head…
Episode 9 Timestamps:
[00:28] – Introducing, C’est qui le Patron translated as Who’s the Boss, and known as The Consumer Brand in the UK. It is a cross category brand that is being created and managed by consumers, to ensure fair prices to farmers and consumers.
[02:25] – Never before has a new brand grown so quickly. Founder Nicolas Chabanne explains what The Consumer Brand is and gives us an idea of the size of the revolution that they’ve triggered in grocery retail and agri-food business in France.
[03:34] – As consumers, what are the eight simple, big questions we need to answer to determine the specifications of products and determine where our money is going?
[05:50] – The Consumer Brand is a cross-category brand. How many brands sit under the umbrella of The Consumer Brand?
[07:17] – With 30 products in just two and a half years, no other brand has moved so quickly in terms of product launch.
[08:12] – If a consumer who doesn’t know anything about The Consumer Brand goes into a French supermarket that stocks their products, what are they going to see?
[09:32] – Was the original mission to pay a fair price to the producer or to give power to the consumer? Or was it a mix of both?
[11:08] – Are all the products under The Consumer Brand umbrella more expensive than the incumbent products on the market? And even so the consumers are buying them?
[13:21] – The Consumer Brand has had an economic impact on the entire milk category. Big brands across many categories are starting to ask questions about how to make the transition to more fairly produced products.
[14:17] – It is touching to think of how families are sitting down to choose product specifications that will allow for a better quality of life to farmers and producers in France. The next generation is much more clued in to issues such as the environment and animal welfare.
[16:29] – How does this actually work? Nicolas explains the changes to the consumer/shopper behaviour.
[18:48] – The consumer is really able to understand the value chain. We, as consumers, have great power to change things, collectively.
[22:42] – What happens after consumer votes for different attributes/product specs are received?
[23:30] – The commercial relationship is between the manufacturer and the retailer.
[24:32] – When the producer decides to make the new product and then tries to get a product listing is the retail Buyer’s response always positive? Nicolas explains that because the recommended retail price is already set by the consumer, there is not much room for negotiation.
[26:24] – What about the retailers? Do they take a smaller margin? Are they always disposed positively towards this new way of working?
[29:08] – How do the products under The Consumer Brand umbrella perform vs. the incumbent brands and products in their categories?
[33:42] – When are we going to see this brand in different countries? When is it launching in the UK?