Novogen, the layer breeding division of Groupe Grimaud seems well on track. Only four years after its official launch the company says to have gained a fair piece of the global table egg market, and further progress is expected.
By Ad Bal
Novogen Layers was launched in 2008. “This was not something that happened overnight”, tells Fréderic Grimaud, President and CEO of the French parent company of Novogen. “We see the world population growing continuously and as a result, the demand for food will keep growing too. Table eggs can very well fill in this demand. Eggs are packed with a nice shell and ready to eat from the moment of lay. Moreover eggs are a very healthy and affordable type of food.
Groupe Grimaud nowadays is the second largest multi-species breeding company and in this respect, layers fitted well in our portfolio. Therefore, in 1997 we had already started thinking about the creation of a layer division. In those days we were able to acquire pedigree lines in France and in North America and these formed the basis of this division. But since we also acquired the Hubbard broiler breeding company in 2005, we first focused on integrating this new division into our group. Meanwhile we had continued our layer selection programme and in 2008 the time had come to also launch Novogen layers”.
Brown, white and tinted “From that moment we have steadily built up our market presence”, managing director Mickaël Le Helloco of Novogen continues. “In order to meet with the demands of the global market, we offer three main products: brown, white and tinted. Currently, we are represented with parent stock (PS) in over 40 countries worldwide and more places are underway.
We claim to have a global market share of about 6% to date, and aim for 15% of the EU market by the end of 2012, mainly represented through non integrated, independent distributors. We also have grand parent stock (GPS) in Europe, Asia, North & Latin America. Some more significant markets are underway. We strongly believe not just in the competitive performance of our birds, but also in the egg quality. Particularly we stress on colour as well as on shell quality, which we believe are strong assets of Novogen.”
Genetics and environment Thierry Burlot, manager R&D underlines this vision. “Moreover, we select on keeping egg quality up to the end of the cycle”, he adds. “This refers not just to egg quality, but also to productivity (longevity and persistency), efficiency and the ability to produce in various production systems. We must realise that many birds in the EU are now kept under free range conditions. In many other countries however, traditional cages are still widely used. Of course, we select on genetic traits to meet the demands of the market.
But the birds’ performance is also based on the environment. For that reason, we are implementing “RFID technology” (Radio Frequency Identification), which allows us to individually monitor the behaviour and the performance of the birds. This technology uses a chip which is attached to the neck of the bird. It measures time of oviposition, time inside and lay rate in the nest and other factors. All in all with the objective to breed birds that are meeting the growing global demand for productive layers till the end. We are confident that step by step we are getting there”.