Lyophilise&Co, a gastronomic web business

Clara (commercial) and Ariane, the founder of Lyophilise&Co © Bateaux.com

The Breton company based in Lorient Lyophilise&Co has established itself over the past ten years as the specialist in outdoor dining. If the primary intention of its activity is to supply professional navigators, it is nevertheless of interest to other customers. This leads to rapid development.

The outdoor meal specialist

Created in 2010, the Breton company Lyophilise&Co quickly established itself as a specialist in outdoor meals. Thanks to the help of the Lorient urban community, it is settling into the heart of ocean racing, within the former Groupama Team France building in Lorent la Base. If Ariane Pehrson intends to provide freeze-dried and sterilized meals to professional sailors in Lorient La Base when she starts her business, she quickly realizes the potential of her activity.

Because the orders - mainly placed on its website - come from all over France.

"We quickly realized that we had to put in the resources and we made a major investment in a new high-performance website in 2011-2012. We have been supported by business angels, initiative platforms, the Guyomarc'h Foundation and the agglomeration. It helped us to plan ahead, because the banks were reluctant to invest on the web. We were fortunate to be supported and we raised several funds to accelerate our development and stay ahead of the competition in the future "explains the founder of Lyophilise&Co.

Provisioning of Safran (Morgan Lagravière) © François Van Malleghem

An activity mainly focused on the web

Today - in 2019 - Lyophilise&Co offers more than 1?300 references on its website and supplies the entire Volvo Ocean Race fleet (over the last two editions). 70% of the turnover comes from the online shop. "We work all over Europe, and even outside Europe. We ship to about 50 countries." Seven people work in the company, five full-time and two part-time, and the average turnover is ?1.4 million, with boating varying from 35 to 40% depending on the years in which the Volvo Ocean Race takes place.

Its clientele consists of sailors, but also sportsmen and women of all kinds - cyclists, marathon runners, mountaineers and even Sunday sportsmen. The company also works with many foreign institutions and organizations.

To house its ever-growing stock - although light, but bulky - Ariane is building two buildings in the heart of Lorient La Base, one of which will be the new headquarters of her company by 2020. "We could have more materials and references."

The company is also looking to develop its export business, particularly in English-speaking European countries. She already works with Germany, Sweden, Holland, and England, but also a lot with Spain. Lyophilise&Co also offers Spanish and English versions of its sales site.

Lyophilise&Co's stalls ©Bateaux.com

Not such a seasonal activity

If the activity is seasonal among a population of seafarers, the expansion of the customer base increases the order period. "The activity extends mainly from March to August, with a big peak in the summer as the general public becomes part of our target group. It calms down at the end of October, with a slower period until February, but this is less and less true. We are working more and more with institutions or police forces to prevent crises: hurricanes on islands, risks of supply disruptions, European delegations in different countries, etc..."

"Our specialization remains the freeze-dried even if we developed the appertized one following requests. Our objective is to offer what is not found elsewhere in terms of long shelf life products. As for our core target, it's still the sailors. They are our priority and that is why we are investing in Lorient. Our network is solid and we both benefit from each other's exchanges. This is how we referenced the material part (stove, isothermal container, thermos, etc.). They are a force of proposal."

Lyophilise&Co's stalls ©Bateaux.com