Birth of "L'atelier des viandes de France"

Birth of "L'atelier des viandes de France"
  • The joint enterprise project announced in October 2015 by Avril – via its subsidiary Abera – and Tönnies has now become reality, through an investment of €5 million.
  • As from 1st April 2016, it will combine the skills and expertise of both partners in the context of an ultra-modern butchery and processing plant called "L’Atelier des Viandes de France".
  • Based in Vire (Calvados, Normandy), it will enable the creation of 60 jobs and offer new market prospects for the French pork sector and its pig breeders, who are struggling in a difficult economic climate.
  • The objective of this new plant is to allow breeders to reconquer markets currently supplied by imports, and enable the food industry to offer products to consumers that meet their expectations.

On 29 October 2015, Avril – via its subsidiary Abera – and Tönnies, both major actors in the European pig industry, announced their plans to unit their respective skills in order to develop a sector for 100% French pork products (see here the press release dated 29 October 2015).

The two partners were thus reaffirming their desire to increase the share of French pork among the processed product ranges sold as fresh packaged meat in the supermarkets and hypermarkets of mainland France.

These plans have now become reality through a €5 million investment to set up the Avril-Tönnies joint enterprise. Called "L’Atelier des Viandes de France", and based in Vire (Calvados, Normandy), the plant will be operational as from 1st April 2016, enabling the immediate creation of 30 jobs.  Between now and the end of this year, 60 jobs could be generated in the Vire area.

Wholly dedicated to exploiting French pig production, the Atelier des Viandes de France will combine the skills and expertise of both partners in an ultra-modern butchery and processing plant.

Products from these new facilities will adhere to the "5F" quality approach driven by Avril, which guarantees the use of pigs that are born, raised, slaughtered, butchered and processed in France.

Abera, an Avril Group subsidiary, will supply the "5F" meat, thus consolidating its position in slaughtering and butchery. Avril will also draw on the expertise of its Sanders brand, the leader in France for animal nutrition and production, and its in-depth knowledge of different livestock sectors, particularly regarding the compilation of specifications.

On its side, Tönnies, a German, family-run group specialized in the slaughtering and processing of pigs and cattle, will be able to apply its expertise to the processed products segment and broaden its range of fresh and processed pork products sold by supermarkets in France.

These products are based on targeted specifications compiled in partnership with livestock breeders, so that French consumers can be offered products that meet their changing expectations in terms of origin and quality.
In an unfavorable market context, this plan will offer new market prospects for the French pig sector and its breeders, the objective being to reconquer the domestic market for processed products, at a time when the French trade balance in this high added-value segment is in deficit.

"Opening this new plant is a strong signal, not only to Avril and its subsidiary Abera, but also the entire French pig sector and its breeders", commented Fabrice Chapelle, Abera's Director General. "Since 2013, France has been importing more pork than it exports.  While a large share of these imports - and particularly fresh packaged meat - come from Germany, this new plant will combine products Made in France with German expertise, and aim to recover the domestic markets lost to French pork."
Finalization of these plans is conditional upon obtaining the necessary authorizations from the competition authorities.

About Abera:
Abera ( is a subsidiary of the Avril Group specialized in the first and second stage processing of pork.  It is based in Saint-Brice-en-Coglès, in Brittany.  Benefiting from lengthy experience and support from its 650 partner livestock breeders, Abera slaughters about one million pigs (93,000 tonnes) each year.

About the Avril Group:
Set up in 1983 at the initiative of French farmers in order to assure the future of the vegetable oil and proteins sector, Avril ( ) has become a major industrial and financial group that is developing in France and internationally.  
Present in sectors as diverse as human foods and animal feeds, renewable energies and chemistry, Avril owns a portfolio of strong brands that are leaders in their markets: Diester®, Sanders, Lesieur, Puget, Matines, Bunica, Taous, etc.
In more than 30 years, the Group has changed in size but its purpose has remained the same: to create sustainable value in the vegetable oils and proteins sector while contributing to better foods for humans and preservation of the planet.  
To fulfill its mission, Avril draws strength from its industrial activities organized around its skills in vegetable oils and animal production, and from its financial arm, which operates through the finance and development company Sofiprotéol.  
In 2014, the Avril Group achieved turnover worth €6.5 billion.  It counts 7200 employees working in 22 countries.   

About Tönnies:
Tönnies is a German-based, family-owned company that has grown since 1971 according to a model that allies traditional know-how and modernity. Today, its meat factories are amongst the most modern in Europe.
The top-quality meat is produced at high-tech sites in Germany (Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Beckum, Herzebrock, Kellinghusen, Kempten, Legden, Sögel and Weißenfels) and Denmark (Brørup).
Tönnies focuses on the slaughtering, butchery, processing and marketing of beef and pork, and the company is characterized by the particular emphasis it places on innovation.  
Through its subsidiary Tillman’s, Tönnies is the German leader in shelf-ready packaged meat and convenience products.  Tillman's manufactures meat products that can meet consumer demands in different countries.  Its chefs and food technologists work closely together to develop new ideas and products.
In 2014, the Tönnies Group achieved turnover worth €5.6 billion, and counted 8500 employees.  

Tom Doron, Avril
+33 (0)1 78 14 80 09

Download the press release [PDF]