Hénaff: 2 million units sold in export markets

20-06-2016 Pâté Henaff, produit gastronomie française
Logo France Bon appétit

The Brittany-based company celebrates more than 100 years of history. Its fame extends far beyond the borders of France and its growth in international markets continues.

The family business was founded in 1907 by Jean Hénaff and is located in the village of Pouldreuzic in Finistère. It has specialised since its early beginnings in pork-based pâtés and the brand has gained a strong following in France, not least as a result of its small, distinctive, blue and yellow can, which remains  today an undisputed bestseller. According to 2009 figures, it is the no.1 French brand in the canned pâté and rillettes market (24.3% market share in value, Source IRI). 51% of French consumers are familiar with the Hénaff brand, a score that soars to 99% on home turf in Brittany. Proof indeed that the locals hold it dear and the French in general are rather partial to its culinary delights.  The canned goods side of the business focuses essentially on the domestic market, and Hénaff is currently strengthening its presence. In addition, driven by a relentless eye on innovation, under the direction of Loic Hénaff, the recently appointed CEO, the company will soon see the launch of “Ma tartine Hénaff” retail promotion in May.

The advantage for the consumer is that all products sold under the Hénaff brand are marketed together on a single shelf.  The marketing initiative will be rolled out across Western France. On-going innovation forms part of the company DNA, and progressive growth over the years has resulted in a 200-strong workforce.  Pâté accounts for 40% of sales, while the range has also included fresh goods and saucisson since 2013.

United States and Japan – both strongholds of the company export strategy

The Brittany company is evidently thriving on the domestic market. More than 3,000 attendees at celebrations to mark its 100th anniversary in Pouldreuzic, was a good indication of its popularity, on home turf and further afield.  Indeed, a fervent amateur of Henaff pâté organised a giant “Garden Pâté” and the initiative took off across the Atlantic.  Nestling in the legendary Central Park in New York, more than 200 brand devotees, Americans and French alike, sampled pâtés to the tune of bagpipes. The event, held September 13th 2015, and organised by BZH New York – the association of Bretons in New York – is testament to the popularity of pâté beyond French borders. “French pâté is a tradition. France has developed its pâté prowess over the centuries and pâté has become a true champion. This French culinary tradition is passed down through the generations and attracts followers around the world,” insists Marin Bourayne, Hénaff export manager.

And the quality of Hénaff products is the overriding selling point for foreign importers and consumers.  A quality symbol flagged on French products in export markets is a sizeable advantage. “…which is how we gained a foothold on the Japanese market, where standards are extremely high regarding raw materials” points out Marin Bourayne.

The other brand advantage is versatility. There are basically two ways of eating pâté around the world, either as a spread or in cooking. In terms of global innovation, Hénaff sells its products in small glass jars. A visual reminder that the brand is by no means mass market, despite the perception of many.  Hénaff pâté is a quality product and is found in Europe in high-end grocers and department stores. Europe is the next highly competitive market to enter the line of fire for the Finistère-based company. But in order of priority, America and Asia remain the central focus. The strategy is clear, “We try to gain a good understanding of our importers and tailor our approach to each market. So in Japan for example, we have worked intensively on packaging to balance the authenticity of a French product with familiar Japanese writing” underlines the export manager. “You need to be quite persistent in export markets and offer constant support to importers”.

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With more than 2 million units sold in export markets last year, accounting for more than 5% of total sales, the future is looking rosy for Hénaff, not forgetting the distinctive shades of blue and yellow of course.