Betting on Made in France organic caviar
Through his brand Caviar de Neuvic, Laurent Deverlanges chose to produce quality caviar made in France while limiting the ecological footprint of his activity as much as possible.
“I like to eat organic, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t serve organic feed to the sturgeons raised on my farm.” Behind the words of Laurent Deverlanges, CEO of HUSO, the parent company of Caviar de Neuvic, stand a reality and a commitment. The reality is chilling. “Intensive fishing has exhausted natural resources. The Caspian Sea provides two tons of farmed caviar per year compared to 1,000 tons of wild caviar in the 1980s. The majority of caviar sold around the world, including in France, is now the product of intensive Chinese farming using Chinese-quality feed and rivers of Chinese ecological standards. When I created my company in 2011, I put into practice my belief that it was possible to produce in France, in the heart of the Dordogne, while developing an economically viable business. I also wanted to focus on production methods that were respectful of the environment and guaranteed food security for consumers.” These commitments underscore a serious industrial ambition. The company owns a 20-hectare fish farm, two hectares of which are dedicated to sturgeon-farming ponds. “I believe that an entrepreneur does not necessarily need to have the idea of the century, but should develop an activity in a sector he has always been drawn to. Then, he just has to manage his company in a way that suits his sensibility; if he can do that, the rest will go smoothly.”
A commitment to protecting the environment
“All of our decisions are shaped by the goal of limiting our ecological footprint.” The company, which has earned the “Responsible aquaculture” label, has just reached a new milestone by becoming a zero organic waste facility. “This is particularly difficult to manage on a daily basis, as the caviar represents only 10% of the fish and the rest must be reprocessed. This drives us to be ever more creative in finding new solutions. The next step: organic certification.” Another differentiating factor: his sturgeons are treated with phytotherapy and homeopathy and farmed in a particularly low-density system. “We are all very concerned about farming conditions and minimising the stress of fish. I surround myself with employees who share this vision of farming. This ambition truly drives the company and our employees are fully invested in it.” This virtuous approach translates to continuous growth in revenue, which stood at €3m in 2016 (up +50% compared to 2015). Driven by sustained investments in marketing – €4m since its creation –, the Caviar de Neuvic brand is seeing increasing growth in exports with distribution in 27 countries around the world. It also counts three boutiques in France and 10 seasonal points of sale. Laurent Deverlanges knows, however, that the greatest work lies ahead: “During the launch of a company, all goes smoothly and it’s easy to keep teams motivated. To maintain momentum, you must constantly be driven by projects that renew your teams’ enthusiasm.”