Our history

More than 20 years
of Co-operative Culture

A history of many stories!

Created in 2000 out of the merger of three Normandy-based co-operatives (AGRALCO formed in 1992, COOP-CAN formed in 1967 and ORCAL formed in 1992), the roots of Agrial run deep into more than a century of co-operative farming history.

Since then, we have grown and diversified to meet the increasingly diverse needs and expectations of consumers by developing a co-operative that drives innovation and meets the aspirations of its farmer members by sharing the value it creates.

Formation of the first departmental agricultural unions in France

The agricultural supplies businesses they develop lead to the emergence of CASAM, COOP CAN, CADS and many other co-operatives in the early 1900s.

Creation of the Soignon dairy

80 goat farmers form a co-operative and found the Saint-Martin-de-Saint-Maixent dairy, which later names its first cheese dairy after the nearby Soignon stream!

The family firm of Écusson is established in Livarot, deep in the Normandy bocage countryside of the Calvados department.
The Loïc Raison adventure begins

The story of Loïc Raison cider begins in 1923 when the Raison family cider mill is opened in the Ille-et-Vilaine town of Domagné by Louis Raison.

The Co-operative builds its first grain silo

The Co-operative's very first silo was built at Longny-au-Perche in the Terres de l'Orne at the beginning of the 1950s... soon to be followed by more than 140 others across our co-operative regions to optimise local collection and storage of harvested grain.

France’s first self-service farm shop opens at Pontorson, in the department of Manche.
A new 33,000-tonne silo is built in the port of Caen.
Formation of SOVICO (Société des Viandes du Cotentin)

The Co-operative makes its first venture into meat processing; a step that will later facilitate its expansion into vegetables.

The late 1970s
CASAM launches its Green Plan

In response to the accelerating pace of change that characterises the second half of the 20th century, CASAM (one of Agrial’s founding cooperatives) launches its Green Plan, a structurally vital company development plan designed to support its farmer members in transitioning to more efficient and sustainable agricultural practices.

The early 1980s
The CENTRE SEM corn seed station opens in Reignac-sur-Indre.
Emulation of the 100 Quintals club

At the beginning of the 1980s, Coop-Can (one of the co-operatives that created Agrial) joins the 100 Quintals club whose members are Europe’s most efficient cereal producers. The purpose of the club is simply to share best practices to break through the 100 quintals per hectare barrier (1 quintal = 100 kg)!

The first cartons of Agrilait milk are sold through the Cesson-Sévigné dairy near Rennes.
Bagged salads go on sale

The very first bagged salads made their appearance and thus met the new expectations of consumers, which made it possible to find profitable outlets for the production of the Co-operative's vegetable members and to give birth to our Florette brand in 1987.

Florette goes international

Our brand reaches out to conquer new markets, and forms an export team whose members win new customers in the UK and Belgium after just a few months. This division has continued to grow internationally ever since, and now generates around 50% of its annual revenue outside France.

Organic milk launches in the Loire-Atlantique region

The Colorena Co-operative creates its first range of organic UHT milk, which is marketed under the Nactalia brand.

The birth of Agrial

Created out of the merger between the Agralco, Coop-Can and Orcal co-operatives, Agrial begins life with 12,000 members, 4,400 employees and annual revenue of just over €1 billion.

Naturally pink cider is invented using juice from Rouge Délice apples.
The first year of operation for the Herbignac mozzarella dairy, which now features on around 40% of all the pizzas sold in France!
How the West was Won

Agrial makes its first Atlantic crossing with the acquisition of Manzana, a California-based company producing 100% organic apple sauces, vinegars and juices, some of which is made from apple concentrates produced by Co-operative farmer members.

Agrial launches into the ultra-fresh dairy products segment

Its acquisition of Senagral marks Agrial's first venture into dairy processing for mass market consumer products via the ultra-fresh segment. The impetus is then maintained through mergers with Coralis and the Eurial co-operatives.

The Agrial Meat division experiences a revival in secondary processing following the acquisition of the premium traditional butchers Maître Jacques in Rennes.

Launch the new retail branding that now appears on more than 130 of our stores.

Rollout of the Globe project

The aim of this project is to modernise our organisational structure for the benefit of farmer members by working even more closely with them and taking cross-functional interaction between Co-operative activities to a new level.

Agrial unveiled its Climate Plan at its General assembly on May 20, 2022

Developed in 2021, the Climate Plan was certified by the SBTi (Science Based Target initiative) in 2022. Based on four pillars (upstream, energy, packaging and waste, transport), it aims to halve our direct greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our total carbon footprint by 35% by 2035.

Agrial continues to expand in the Rhône Valley

The merger with the Natura'Pro co-operative and the development of a new Maître Jacques site at Cuisery (Burgundy-Franche-Comté ) have further strengthened Agrial's development in the Rhône Valley, initiated with the acquisition of new activities in the Meat division, Salaisons du Mâconnais in 2021 and Rochebillard et Blein in 2022.

Bernard Guillard is elected new Chairman of Agrial by the Board of Directors

And the story continues...

The Agrial story on the printed page

On the pathway to a unique co-operative model

Buy the book

Our book offers Agrial farmer members, employees and partners the opportunity to (re)discover the amazing adventure of the Co-operative, which in just 20 years has built successfully and with pride and humility on more than a century of heritage to experience a journey rich in successes, failures (occasionally) and lessons learned (always).

Together, we have built a substantial and truly cooperative model based on the shared values of long-termism, proximity, solidarity and boldness. It is an achievement we can be justifiably proud of. It is this pride in being part of a French co-operative farming success that is deeply rooted in its home soil, but openly embraces the world, draws its strength from its founding principles, and is building its future on innovation, that unites us and provides us with our daily motivation.

Without all those who have gone before us and who remain very much in our thoughts, and without the shared and collective trust of today’s farmer members and employees, Agrial would not be the force for good it is today.

Where can you buy your copy of our book?

You’ll find it in more than 280 local Agrial shops and LaMaison.fr stores, but you can also buy a copy at www.lamaison.fr.

Cover price: €14.90 Published by: La Vache Pourpre
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