Founded in 1966 by a collective of French agricultural cooperatives, CCPA has crafted a solid presence in animal nutrition. The Group was established with the objective of consolidating research efforts in nutrition, encompassing areas such as understanding the dietary needs of farm animals, analysing the composition and nutritional value of raw materials, formulating optimal feed, and improving rearing conditions.
Today, this French premixer and maker of functional solutions for feed millers and integrators, as well as liquid and water-soluble products designed specifically for farmers, has evolved into a commercially active group operating in over 50 countries and catering to a diverse clientele. However, it remains rooted in its cooperative origins. The board of directors comprises farmers representing six of the founding cooperatives, underscoring CCPA's commitment to maintaining a farmer-centric approach.
And this, as Group CEO, François Pellet explained to Feedinfo in a recent chat, will serve the company well as it gears up for a new phase in its growth.
The plan is called “Become 2025” and it is a multi-step initiative that aims to usher in a new era of accelerated transformation, growth and innovation at CCPA Group as it looks to continue thriving in a rapidly changing sector and to support sustainable livestock farming. In this Industry Perspectives, Mr Pellet shares more about the strategy behind developing Become 2025, the exact goals the company has set for itself, and the plans it has to further expand its footprint and presence in the animal nutrition sector.
Feedinfo] On your website you state that you take “a 360° approach to animal nutrition and health”. Can you expand on this a bit more. What exactly does this approach entail and how does it benefit your customers?
[François Pellet] Our mission is to ‘engage our knowhow with passion for the competitiveness and the sustainability of the livestock sector’. And at the heart of this is developing innovations and expertise in animal nutrition and sharing them with our customers.
Nutrition has a big impact on two major challenges that our customers are facing: the cost of meat, eggs and milk and the environmental impact of their production. Over the years, the experts at CCPA Group – which include nutritionists, veterinarians, researchers, and laboratory and data analysts – have built a holistic understanding of production animals, which encompasses their genetic potential, their physical environment and sanitation, rearing systems, and the stressors they are exposed to. We use all this knowledge to design the best possible nutritional programmes that take all these elements into account – including all the complexities and the interactions between them – rather than focussing solely on products or standard solutions.
We also provide decision-making tools based on data intelligence to help our customers make informed decisions around the implementation of these nutritional programmes.
[Feedinfo] How will you be expanding this approach in your Become 2025 group strategic plan? What exactly does this entail?
[François Pellet] Being faced with a very dynamic and uncertain market, our strategic plan, Become 2025, aims to accelerate the transformation of the CCPA Group. We want to reinforce our ability to bring innovative solutions to our customers, with a focus on our expertise in nutrition, phyto-expertise and digital expertise. This, we believe, will help us support our customers’ quest for competitiveness and sustainability. Through this plan we also want to become even more of an international presence seeing as currently 2/3 of our business still originates from customers in France. Become 2025 also encompasses additional initiatives to further support customer satisfaction and loyalty, especially through greater customisation of our products and services.
A clear pillar of this plan is building on our history, our culture and our values to transform and grow our company. At the heart of all of this lies our commitment to collaboration and transparency, the establishment of partnerships, as well as considering the long term, all strong markers of our cooperative origin.
[Feedinfo] How will Become 2025 help you stand out from competitors in the industry?
[François Pellet] We are aware that what has made us successful over the years does not guarantee our future success. Indeed, our customers' expectations are changing due to the rapid evolution of farming methods driven by climate change, societal expectations, and regulations. Through this plan, we want to dedicate time, attention, and resources to developing tomorrow's innovations, adapting the skills of our teams, and creating new partnerships through geographical expansions, innovations, sourcing, etc. We are and will remain different from our competitors because of our cooperative DNA and the values associated with it. Our size also sets us apart because we are big enough to innovate and develop cutting-edge technologies while remaining agile and fully customer oriented.
[Feedinfo] Key to this plan is “more sustainable livestock farming”. How is CCPA defining this step internally? What are the elements shaping this part of your Become 2025 plan?
[François Pellet] We aim to contribute to resilient and sustainable livestock farming through our innovations and expertise, which rests on the 3 pillars I touched on earlier: expertise in nutrition, expertise in natural ingredients (phyto-expertise) and digital expertise. In concrete terms, we aim to help our customers in five key areas:
- Reducing the environmental footprint of compound feed manufacturing, through controlling energy consumption and feed formulation using Life Cycle Analysis.
- Increasing milk production per day of life by improving productivity and longevity, reducing unproductive phases, such as heifer rearing, and improving feed efficiency.
- Reducing nitrogen and methane emissions at farm level.
- Developing real-time monitoring and measurement tools.
- Ensuring the competence of technicians and sales staff through training to provide effective support to farmers.
These various steps have been quantified in terms of potential gains in CO2 equivalent, and ease of implementation. This enables our customers to prioritise the steps to be taken.
[Feedinfo] You are also pushing for more innovation as part of Become 2025, with particular focus on launching more products based on your “phyto-expertise”. What can you share with us on this ambition? What new CCPA products should we be keeping an eye out for?
[François Pellet] As touched on before, Become 2025 aims to accelerate the Group's development by making innovation a key growth driver. And we are aiming to do this by focussing on: 1) innovating in feed efficiency and formulation for the competitiveness of our customers, 2) working on sustainable healthy nutrition that considers demedication, animal behaviour and environmental footprint reduction, 3) helping our customers differentiate themselves with animal products that consider and incorporate the “one health” approach.
We have more than 30 years of experience in the use of natural ingredients to address livestock challenges and offering innovative solutions to our customers, such as Vivactiv'®, Proactiv'® and Oleostat@. Strengthening our expertise in plants by identifying new raw materials and offering new solutions to our customers is therefore at the heart of our innovation strategy.
We currently have an active innovation pipeline filled with around 20 projects, all at different levels of maturity, from some that are still in their early stages to ready-to-launch projects. Developing new products takes time; around 3 to 4 years. It is vital for us to expertly manage this project pipeline to realise our ambition of launching new solutions every year for our customers. Without disclosing any confidential information, our next product will be launched in the second semester of 2023 for ruminants. You are going to have to be a bit patient to find out what it is however!
[Feedinfo] Digitalisation is another key area you are looking to push as part of Become 2025. Why do you think this such an important area for CCPA to explore? Which tools are you looking into specifically?
[François Pellet] For a long time CCPA has been involved in the development of digital tools for its customers. In fact, since 1987 we have provided our customers with a rationing software for ruminants called Chorus® and we are the current leader in the French market for this type of software with more than 1000 users.
More recently, in 2021, we launched Demeus®, a tool to help with the demedication of piglet feeds, which provides a 360° vision of the farm and then guides the farm technician towards personalised actions and solutions. And for the last 5 years, we have also been focused on the automated collection of livestock farming data through our Farm-eval® tool in order to produce real-time dashboards, help with the early detection of shifts in performance, predict zootechnical performance and propose personalised corrective measures. CCPA has already implemented it in several dozen dairy, poultry and pig farms in France. We also created a company called Kumulus in 2022 to industrialise the collection, cleaning and formatting of this farm data in order to extend the Farm-eval® offer globally. We believe that these tools are an effective lever for improving the technical and economic performance of farms. They also save time for farmers and technicians.
The digital axis of our strategic plan is not just limited to digital tools for our customers. It also includes our ambition to digitise certain workflow processes within our organisation to improve our productivity and to set up digital tools allowing to better facilitate transactions between CCPA and its customers.
[Feedinfo] You are also looking to accelerate the “internationalisation” of the company’s activities. Please break this down for us. What does this mean and what does this entail? Does this include any expansions or acquisitions? If so, where are you looking to grow your footprint?
[François Pellet] Internationalisation for us means to reinforce our presence in our current target areas – which are Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Mexico and Central America – but also to expand our footprint in areas where CCPA still has a limited presence, like Latin America, South-East Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. This, we believe, can be done by strengthening our technical and commercial presence (directly, as we have done in the Czech Republic, or via distributors), by establishing joint ventures (as was the case in Mexico) or by making acquisitions (like we did in Turkey). Over the past few years, we have demonstrated our ability to acquire animal nutrition companies running the same type of business as us and then to support their growth by employing our expertise. Our plan is to continue along this path when we come across innovative companies that need to be backed by a larger group in order to accelerate their growth or to ensure the transfer and continuity of their company.
Becoming more international will also mean greater diversity in nationalities within teams and employment and collaboration opportunities for our staff across various countries. We pride ourselves on being able to offer interesting careers to people who are passionate, motivated by the transformation of livestock production systems and who want to find a sense of purpose within a cooperative company driven by its mission and values!
Published in association with CCPA.