“Awareness is mandatory. We can no longer say to ourselves, ‘Everything will go back to the way it was'” Philippe Villevalois and Thierry Dubois are respectively general delegate and president of the the Regional Association of Food Companies (Area)which organized its seventh forum, this Thursday, June 9, at the Château de Villette, in Ménestreau-en-Villette.
Faced with the difficulties encountered by this sector, the second generator of jobs in the Center-Val de Loire region – increase in production costs, need for labor, drop in activity – professionals say that“We must invent the company of tomorrow”.
Philippe Villevalois and Thierry Dubois are respectively general delegate and president of the Regional Association of Food Companies (Area). Photo Anne-Laure Le Jan
Since Covid-19 and even more so the war in Ukraine, agri-food business leaders face unprecedented spending. “In one year, we’ve noticed a 5-10% increase in transportation or salary costs. And a 50-100% increase for packaging“, cites, by way of example, Thierry Dubois, also general manager of Maison Allaire, a company specializing in steamed, sterilized and vacuum-packed vegetables, located in Bray-Saint-Aignan.
The rampant inflation, which affects the whole of French society, is causing ripple effects, as the Area President explains:
“Agrifood companies are seeing a drop in heterogeneous activity. Organic products, in particular, are suffering from reduced purchasing power for the French.”
“For qualified positions, the difficulties started three years ago. For the unqualified, there is a year. Behaviors have changed since the health crisis“, indicate Philippe Villevalois and Thierry Dubois.
However, according to them, “for several years, companies are making efforts in terms of wages, working conditions… Undoubtedly, we need to promote it better.”
Professionals believe that one of the solutions is strengthen links between the educational world and the economic world. They depend on work-study and learning. Especially because “agrifood is an area where the social ladder works well“:
“Practical knowledge and experience take precedence over fundamental theoretical knowledge. You can start as a line operator and hope to become a production manager or factory manager.”
According to Philippe Villevalois, more generally, the particularly vague economic context can force companies to “get out of the frame and innovate in terms of management, recruitment, energy use… Maybe in a few years, we’ll realize that these obstacles have been beneficial.”
Represent and federate the agri-food sector
Founded in 2008 and strong today in 200 membersthe Regional Association of Food Companies aims to federate and represent the agri-food sector in the Center-Val de Loire.
In September 2021, she released the collective flag AlimOCentre – bringing together about ten partners –, which resulted in the creation of a website, in March 2022. The objective is to bring together interlocutors capable of answering the questions of business leaders and individuals.
Philippe Villevalois, General Delegate of the Area, specifies:
“The questions of the first concern the constitution of the company, financing, innovation, obtaining raw materials, training its employees. The questions of the second concern their desire to find a job or training. starting . Tomorrow, maybe this site will be used to define cross-functional projects.”
The association is also expanding its catalog of qualification, infra-baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate training. Each year, it offers forty training courses provided by industry professionals or their partners.
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