On 22 May 2001, LDC announced a merger with the leaders of the Huttepain Group in La Chapelle Saint Aubin (72). This alliance enabled the LDC Group to increase its production capacities in response to growing demand from customers and also to acquire new savoir-faire in terms of the organisation of live poultry production, egg production and feed production. The Group wanted to reduce the distance between producers and consumers, particularly through its Le Gaulois brand, and to strengthen the traceability of its products.
100% French poultry farming (hatched, reared and prepared in France). The upstream division and its farming activity, carried out by partner farmers, secure the local supply of the Group’s product preparation tools. Our farmers are located in regions close to the Group’s production sites. The Upstream division federates almost 2,000 farmers across France, and more broadly, the LDC Group provides almost 6,000 farmers with sales outlets.
In order to develop livestock farming sustainably, the Group and its Upstream division have historically relied on approaches under official quality labels (Label Rouge, AB – organically farmed) for free-range poultry, and since 2017 on our ethical “Nature d’Eleveurs” programme for certified poultry and everyday poultry.
Chicks hatch in France in hatcheries located close to the farms. This is the most recent activity to be overseen by the Upstream division and allows us to strengthen our control of all the links in the chain: from the hatching of the bird to our consumer customer. Farmers of future reproductive poultry receive selected chicks first of all and rear them to sexual maturity. Farmers of reproductive poultry than receive males and adult females. After laying, the eggs are collected and transferred to hatcheries for incubation. Fertilised eggs hatch between 21 and 35 days later depending on the species (chickens, turkeys, ducks…). Chicks are then transferred to partner farms.
Our farmers are people who are really passionate about their work and their animals, with whom the LDC Group has enjoyed a trusting relationship for almost 50 years. Their job is to receive the chicks and rear them in the best possible conditions. In exchange for our farmers’ compliance with the various specifications and their commitments (respect for poultry and the environment, etc.), the Group secures their income through contractualisation (setting prices, securing supplies and outlets) and technical support (advice from breeding and farming specialists, training, quality audits, etc.).
The Upstream division also provides the Group with expertise in grain storage and controls the traceability of its supplies.
The cereals are the primary ingredient consumed by the poultry. They are grown in France, as close as possible to the feed factory, by local cereal producers as well as by our partner poultry farmers, who very often grow crops and rear animals. The grain division provides support, monitoring and advises farmers.
These activity also supports our role as a driver in French soya production, especially with our subsidiary in Sarthe which was created in 2015 to strengthen our autonomy in plant-based proteins. In addition to supplying grain for animal feed, we also supply the milling industry.
Our feed factories receive, control, measure, grind, mix and steam cook the raw materials used to create our poultry feed.
This feed is then delivered to our partner farmers. Feed composition is guaranteed 100% plants, minerals and vitamins. Raw materials are generally local, in particular the 100% French whole grains. The upstream division has expertise in poultry feed production. Its specialist teams create balanced recipes that meet the nutritional needs of each animal.
The historical savoir-faire of the Upstream division. The production organisation is the conductor for the sector. It manages relations with partner farmers and protects them from the vagaries of the market through contractualisation. In addition to guaranteeing prices, it is more generally a question of securing the farmers’ activity, in particular through planning and technical support. Contracts are drawn up between the production organisation and groups of producers.
The aim is to organise and plan poultry rearing depending on the qualitative and quantitative needs of the market. The double challenge is to ensure regular supplies to the slaughterhouses and to secure the farmers’ activity. Depending on the needs expressed by the slaughterhouses, the scheduling teams coordinate the rearing of chicks in agreement with farmers. This scheduling is an essential link between the hatcheries, slaughterhouses and farmers.
Each farmer receives individual support from a specialist poultry farming advisor. The advisor provides day-to-day support and an external vision of things, which is vital for successful farming. Development managers also support the farmers in all their projects and their technical and administrative procedures. Quality managers oversee internal controls of the continuous improvements programmes. Independent control bodies guarantee compliance with the specifications, thereby supporting and promoting the farmers’ commitment.
Our “Egg” activity relies on one of the most efficient egg packaging centres in Europe. A centre that sorts, packs and distributes 100% of Label Rouge and Organic de Loué eggs, and Le Gaulois Free range and Organic eggs. Historically oriented towards alternative eggs, the centre markets eggs via the various distribution networks in France to meet consumer expectations. Under contract with partner breeders in Western France, the “LOeuf” company markets more than 500 million eggs/year.