Before an idea comes true, there’s a long way to go!
La Cuisine de Lucie wasn't created in a day. Consider all the discoveries, the encounters, the surveys, and the happiness but also the questions, failures and fears. Through Lucie's story you will discover how la Cuisine de Lucie was born and what makes her so special. It is just the very start and a lot remains to write…
During several stays in Canada, we noticed that few French local products were showed in the groceries. You know, these fresh and healthy foodstuffs we find in a limited quantity which are made with local ingredients according to the know-how of small producers… This is what we’re talking about! Our first reaction was: Why do we find so few of these products and, can they get their chance in this country?
From November 2011 to February 2012, we lead a complete survey to evaluate to what point the French producers are interested in selling their products to Canada and…it is a real success! 90% of the questioned companies would like to share what they make over the Atlantic ocean. We tested their products and checked their laboratories. Our catalogue comes up with…200 products!
Actually, why do we want to do this? Why do we want to share these small treasures with our Canadian friends?
The answer is really easy to understand: what’s more healthy than these food products created after a handcraft cook’s passion? Their skills to use local and natural ingredients is an obvious help to eat well. They use no GMO, additives are measured and controled and the making process is safe. And finally, the great flavors of their, most of the time, familial recipes allow their products to stand out and make us forget that it can be tough to eat well!
Sharing this passion for good and healthy food, helping these French producers and, of course, making you discover new flavors, this is what La Cuisine de Lucie is about!
An exclusive distributor contract is signed with our partners-producers and La Cuisine de Lucie becomes a Canadian and French registered trademark.
We have 2 more questions to answer. First, why can we only find a few of these French local products on the Canadian market? Then, what would be the best distribution network to use to make them widely available?
We will need no less than 6 months and several travels to answer these questions. Especially because we quickly realized that we’ve been starting the wrong way!
During March and April 2012, Ubifrance conducted a study of the Canadian market and helped us organize meetings with several Ontario and Quebec importers. But we soon realize that they were not the right interlocutors. However, we found out the answer to our first question: French local products are missing in this country mostly because the Canadian importers don’t want to buy them and no choice is given to the consumers! What should we do?
Well, we just have to become an importer ourself!
In order to become an importer, we have to learn the Canadian law. It is obvious, the rules are not the same as in Europe!
Dissecting drugs and food acts, packaging and labeling acts, Canadian nutrition facts tables, fishes and meat importation laws, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency requirements…this was part of our day-to-day job for a couple of months! Not forgeting the two compulsory languages (English and French), the administrative licence and the different registrations to get a recognition of legitimacy, the choice of our broker and our storing-partner in Montreal…
4 awesome months to overpower the food import and distribution process on the Canadian market!
Now comes the time to create the necessary tools to let people known more about our company and to turn our philosophy and beliefs into a strong set of rules to create a solid base for the future of La Cuisine de Lucie.
We then have developped a visual identity that reflects these beliefs and applied it to every documents we needed: labels, site, communication material…
And here comes Lucie, our mascot and spokeswoman. She is in charge of sharing our healthy products philosophy on our Twitter account.
It’s just time to pinpoint the final products. An other survey is launched, not at the importer’s level but straight through the consumers, retailers and distributors.
We also applied our philosophy to our selection criteria: we have to refuse to work with producers who are not processing with Control methods, such as HACCP, in order to guarantee the food healthiness.
Finally, we’ve selected fifteen products or so and it’s time to finish the negotiations with our partners-distributors.
That’s it! We can go! The first shipments left France and the official launch is planned for the beginning of 2013. We take a while to look back at what we did: from the birth of the idea to the very start of the shipment, it took more than 1 year!
It’s the price we had to pay to become an importing process expert and to be able to share with our Canadian friends these awesome tasty, healthy and natural French local products.
A chance to extend the market southwards, in the US New England is offering to us. An Agent came across our Natural products catalog. Actually, he is well introduced in the US food distribution.
Is Lucie to be renamed after Lucy?