'Bon et bien' (Well and good) is made from uncalibrated merchandise, which is too small or lumpy, and will go on sale in France in March 2015.
Members of the initiative will recruit employees from the Pole Emploi (French employment agency) or locally, to collect the produce which is mainly potatoes, from a dozen or so farms across Bapaume.
The cargo is then sent to Templeuve, to Thomas Pocher’s Leclerc laboratory where it will be processed into soup.
Jean Bernou, president, McCain France, said it works directly with the agricultural world.
“Due to the agri-food sector only offering calibrated products, enormous wastage occurs. It is our duty to create something different, to have an effect on the land,” he said.
The Bon et bien initiative was launched on the Leprince farm owned by Ghislain Leprince in Béhagnies.
Approximately 8-10,000 tons of potatoes are produced annually, of which 2,000 tons are not up to par at sorting.
In chicory farming almost 50% of production does not make it to the shelves. It is estimated that in France, no less that 150kg per capita per year of edible foodstuff is wasted.
Bernou said the answer is to develop processing circuits for such merchandise where the quality remains excellent.
Employees will be hired on 6-18 month contracts to harvest 40 tons of potatoes in the first year, and at least 20 tons of chicory, onion and carrot.
Ten or so producers around Bapaume will be included in the first collections and 300 litres of soup will be produced daily in a 200 m² production plant in Templeuve.