Payzan: from soya field to taste buds

Born in a family farm, Payzan is the result of a desire to promote local soybean cultivation. Founded by IÉSEG graduate Tristan FERTÉ, his brother Aymeric and his wife Margot, this artisanal company stands out for its original aperitif creations. Awarded the IÉSEG 2024 Entrepreneur Prize, Payzan aims to expand its territory while remaining true to its local roots.

To begin with, could you tell us a little about the genesis of Payzan?

During my studies at IÉSEG, I took the Entrepreneurship major of the Grande École Program and started to run my own business directly alongside my studies. First, I created a brand of decorative posters, then another on the theme of cooking. At the same time, my brother and sister-in-law took over the family farm, which led us to start thinking about adding value to the farm’s agricultural production. We’d already been growing soya for three years, so we decided to turn our attention to this distinctive foodstuff, which is still relatively little exploited by organic and French producers. This legume is very interesting in terms of nutritional qualities, particularly for its proteins, but also from an agronomic point of view, as it’s a key element in crop rotation.

That’s how the idea of Payzan came about, which is above all a family adventure. We focus on the production of soy-based spreads and roasted beans, which are products designed to be enjoyed as part of an aperitif. We chose this sector because it gave us greater freedom to create innovative and unconventional recipes. Consumers find it easier to try and discover products that are different from their usual fare during an aperitif than during a traditional meal.

This year, you won the IÉSEG Entrepreneur Prize. Is this a boost for Payzan?

Indeed, we were selected for the finals, where we pitched in front of a jury of around ten people. I have to say I was pretty pleased with my performance, and as I walked out, I told myself I couldn’t have done any better! We’d never won a competition before. So I wasn’t really expecting to win. In the end, we won the First Prize! It was great news and a great feeling of pride for us. The €8,000 prize money means a lot to a company like ours and gives us a real boost. But above all, it’s very gratifying to see that our project and our ability to support ourselves through business are recognized and rewarded by prizes like this. These funds will enable us to speed up our development. We’ve already recruited a trainee to look after the marketing side, and we’re also planning to recruit another trainee for the sales. This will really help us to boost our growth.

How do you see the future fOR Payzan?

Our ambition is to further develop our product range by collaborating with other local farmers. We also want to increase our market presence and raise consumer awareness of the benefits of soy. Ultimately, we hope to make Payzan a reference in the aperitif sector, while contributing to the development of local agricultural production and the fair remuneration of farmers.

In addition, we will shortly be launching 6 new recipes, featuring mushrooms, zucchinis, eggplants, peppers, peas and asparagus. We’re banking heavily on these surprising flavors, while giving priority to local ingredients, which we source within a 100-kilometer radius of the farm. This year, we’re really going all the way with our initiative, while remaining affordable for our customers.

What do you like best about your role at Payzan?

What I particularly like is the diversity of tasks. Every week is different: from formulating new products to creating labels, from managing social networks and marketing to sales. This versatility allows me to learn in many different areas and never get bored. I love this variety.

Will Payzan remain “local” or are you planning to expand?

For the moment, our distribution is mainly concentrated in a triangle between Paris, Lille and Reims, with a few outlets outside this area. Our strategy is to make the most of our local, agricultural aspect – it’s what sets us apart in the market. We’re looking to fill this area first, before thinking about wider expansion. In the long term, we may consider developing a common brand with products from other regions to strengthen our presence nationally, while remaining true to the notion of proximity between consumers and producers.

What is Payzan’s biggest challenge today?

The biggest challenge is to make ourselves known and to be present in as many points of sale as possible, in order to increase our sales volumes and thus our profitability. This requires good visibility. It’s a major challenge, especially with limited resources. We’re working on our brand image, but it takes time. Making our products known and available in more stores is therefore our main objective.

And how are you managing the growing demand?

For the time being, we still have room to grow in terms of production. We have already anticipated growth by developing partnerships with other farmers ready to follow us in our expansion. We also work with production subcontractors, which enables us to manage our growth efficiently.

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