Fruit Today euromagazine talked to Camille Herouard, head of marketing for the Metis® group, who explained the forward-looking project for a product as innovative as this one
When was the Metis brand launched and how did you come up with that idea?
The Metis® brand was launched in 2014. We were convinced about the high quality potential of theses varieties coming from Glen’s Bradford’s program in California. They look like plums but have a little bit of apricot in it, so they taste really good and have a really pleasant texture: firm, crisp and juicy. It was something new to try, a new food experience, with a lots of different colours (skin and flesh) and flavours. So we decide to sell this premium fruits under the name METIS that refers to a mixed origins (plum and apricot), and implies something different and original, coming from sunny climes.
Which companies take part in this project?
We have B Q Genetics in California that is taking care of the breeding program to create new varieties only with natural methods (either pollination by hand or using bees as the pollination vector).
Star Fruits in France, and Rusticas del Guadalquivirin Spain, are Metis® trademark co-owners. They organized the Licensing system in Europe, in order to develop these varieties and propose a regular and secured supply of high quality fruits. Four growers and distributors companies are involved in this Selective Distribution organization: Royal in Spain, Blue Whale in France and Zani and Minguzzi in Italy.
Which products do you trade under Metis?
We select the best varieties of plums from B Q Genetics program. These fruits must respect some quality specifications that we have define carefully in order to guarantee always a superior qualitative product.
Under the brand Metis®, you find 4 families: Metis® Oxy (red flesh & dark skin plum), Metis® Safari (unusual mottled green and red skin with pink flesh), Metis® Tonic (refreshing red skin & Yellow flesh plum) and Metis® Aroma (various kind of skin and flesh colors but particularly powerful and aromatic).
What differenciates Metis from other brands?
Glen Bradford’s world-renowned breeding program is of course one of our main asset. With 15,000 new selections every year, we can guarantee a constant innovation with a continuous improvement in term of quality and agronomy.
On the other hand, we can propose a whole range of fresh and qualitative plums from early summer in June until the end of autumn in November. And in middle term, we have the ambition to extend our offer all year long with supply from South Hemisphere countries.
There are not so many well known Brands of stone fruit in the international market. Do you think that Metis could take advantage of that?
Stone fruits market is a fluctuating market because these fruits cannot be stored along time.The supply chain is also very fragmented and quality can be very fluctuant among suppliers, varieties and period in the season. Stone fruits is a complex market where it is not always easy to plan things in advance, that’s one of the reason why there is not so much brand and marketing activities. And this is really the strength of the Metis® group: to use the experience and the skill of some of the partners, and notably Star Fruits, in other Brand management like Pink Lady®, Joya® or Nectavigne®, and to complement the high expertise of each Metis® member in the stone fruit business to maximize quality, reliability, consistency and confidence the supply of a large and diversified production in one single Brand.
Which would be the potential markets for your products?
So far our main markets are UK and Germany. They are use to eat plums all year long. We have also already good developments in Scandinavia and Benelux. And of course, local markets for the 4 licensees (France, Italy and Spain) will on the top list of our focus.