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Christian's story

Peas, broccoli, cauliflower and freezers: they don’t immediately make you think of Brazil, do they? And yet, as a global market player, Pinguin is also slowly but steadily strengthening its position in the Brazilian market. More than that, our d’aucy brand has been a market leader for over three years there. Do Brazilians like frozen vegetables? How does Pinguin approach the Brazilian market? We asked Christian Laffeach, head of Pinguin Brazil.

From Brittany to Pinguin Brazil

Christian Laffeach is a Frenchman, born into a Breton farming family. His studies of biomedical engineering (food) took him to South America; love kept him there. In 1999, Christian started working in Brazil for the CECAB – Brittany Central Agricultural Co-operative – group. When PinguinLutosa acquired d’aucy Frozen foods, which was part of the Cecab group, Christian became a Pinguin employee. Since 2011, his 30-strong team has been based in Säo Paulo. “80% of our team has a commercial role,” says Christian. “They work closely with the 140 people who sell and distribute our products to over 2,200 Brazilan supermarkets.” Christian’s responsibility ranges from making analyses, calculating costs and expanding the network to brainstorming how we can raise awareness about our brand and promote it.

3x less vegetables than Europeans

Christian: “We really need public-awareness and promotional activities as the concept of frozen vegetables is relatively new here. Did you know that the average Brazilian eats three times less vegetables and two times less fruit than Europeans? Frozen vegetables are even less common here, as many Brazilians don’t have a freezer. Nevertheless, it is very convenient to use frozen vegetables and fruit here, as fresh vegetables are very expensive because it is hard to conserve and transport them in our hot climate. In other words: we really have to convince Brazilians that frozen vegetables are healthy, tasty and convenient.” Christian and his team therefore set up promotional campaigns, publish articles in trade magazines, invite consumers to taste frozen vegetables in supermarkets, visit cooking schools, etc.

3 years a market leader

To corner the market, it is crucial to tune in the offering of d’aucy to the country’s needs and eating habits. That is why Christian explicitly chooses to work with local people: “We understand the culture, the habits and the needs here. We are familiar with the complex legislation and administration (Brazil has 27 states, each with a different fiscal system!) and we know how hard it is to organize logistics in a country that spans 8.5 million km2, with a poor infrastructure. Thanks to this understanding and knowledge, we managed to make the d’aucy brand the Brazilian market leader in frozen vegetables,” says Christian.

Ready for much more growth

In spite of all the challenges, Christian spots numerous opportunities for growth: “Brazilians have always been one of the most body-conscious cultures in the world. In their quest for a beautiful, healthy body, they are increasingly eating fruit and vegetables. We have to convince them that our fruit and vegetables are an excellent choice. Pinguin has to become synonymous with high-quality products, throughout Brazil.” Christian, for his part, can’t wait to achieve that mission!