Surfing on the success of their apple sauces and other “no sugar added” fruit-filled desserts, Charles & Alice is continuing to expand, with a €20-million investment to increase production capacity.
Charles & Alice, makers of apple sauces, fruit purees, juices and fruit-filled desserts for both supermarkets and restaurants, has invested €20 million to build a new fruit-pouch production unit at their plant in the town of Monteux, in the Vaucluse.
“In 2020, the company generated €165 million in revenue, with 15% from exports. They are very attached to their regional roots, so 80% of the fruit that goes into their products comes from groves in greater southeastern France.”
Production started last March, when the first line began roll-out. Thanks to a second line, which will be operational by the end of the year, production will be increased to a long-term total capacity of 8,500 tons of pouches.
– Energy Transition –
The new production unit will enable the firm, which is riding the “no sugar added” wave, to continue to grow its French and European markets. It will also allow them to accelerate their energy transition. The 6,500 m2 (70,000 square-foot) plant makes it possible to reduce water use by 80%, thanks in particular to recycling systems for the fruit-washing water. In addition, 98% of waste will be up-cycled, with organic waste being used for either methanization or animal feed.
The project, which was launched before the health crisis, has benefited from financial support from the government, in the framework of the economic stimulus package; the European Union (Feader); the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region and the Vaucluse Department.
The company’s other financial news is that, having received a green light from the Bureau of Competition, they will be able, with the help of Credit Mutuel banking corporation, to buy back the 50% share in their business that Equistone Partners, a private-equity firm, has owned for the last eight years. After that has been achieved, Charles & Alice will own 40% of shares, as opposed to 25% currently, and Crédit Mutuel Equity (a subsidiary of the Crédit Mutuel), 60%.
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