Historically very present in Nantes Saint-Nazaire and in the Pays de la Loire Region, the agri-food industry has developed an environment designed to help it grow. Alongside the major corporations present here, such as Tipiak (prepared meals), LU and BN, a myriad of innovative SMEs are being created.
Second largest organic department in France
For several years, the Loire Atlantique department has been supporting the organic sector and was awarded the label Committed organic territory in 2022. 21.4% of the viable agricultural surface is exploited in organic farming or in conversion towards it. This represents, in 2021, 1,228 farms with the organic label, the equivalent of 86,163 ha of land.
In order to raise awareness among future generations of the need to support this sector, each secondary school will be associated with a farm and educational projects will be proposed to students to encourage the link with organic farming among the youth.
Research and development covering a wide range of topics
Research and development are highly structured. The region has 14 research institutes and more than 40 teams and research laboratories. There are also dynamic clusters such as Valorial, Nova Child (dedicated to children) and Atlanpole Blue Cluster (marine bio-resources). A network of regional innovation platforms covers topics as diverse as packaging, organic farming and local distribution and consumption.
Cap Aliment supports innovation
The Regional Innovation Platform Cap Aliment brings together all the economic, technological and academic stakeholders in the agri-food supply chain. In 2015, the collaborative research, training and innovation programme Food For Tomorrow was formed, comprising Cap Aliment, Oniris (College of Veterinary Medicine, Food Science and Engineering) and INRA (National Institute for Agricultural Research), to create a European interdisciplinary centre of excellence in the field of food and agribusiness. In 2017 Cap Aliment will have a 2,200-m2 technology transfer and development centre in Nantes bringing together companies, start-ups, technical centres and professional organizations.
A complete value chain
The entire agri-food value chain is present in Nantes Saint-Nazaire. All actors in the chain are present, from production to processing to distribution, as well as large organizations on the leading edge of research and innovation. This industrial environment is flourishing thanks to advanced facilities such as the CTCPA (Technical Centre for the Conservation Food Products) and high-tech tools and systems.
Food innovation promotes quality
Beyond competitiveness, agri-food innovation in Nantes Saint-Nazaire targets quality, food safety and traceability, with major stakeholders such as the Human Nutrition Research Centre (CRNH), IFREMER, INSERM and the University of Nantes, which offers a pioneering Master Programme called "Man-imal" on food risks, an IDEFI (Initiatives for Excellence in Innovative Training) Laureate.
Leading French port in the sector
Connected to the world's largest hubs, the Port of Nantes Saint-Nazaire offers several weekly trips to the main hubs in Northern Europe (Le Havre, Antwerp, Rotterdam) and Southern Europe (Valencia).