Freezedried & Co' story
History of revictualling before 2010
Gathering supplies before crossing the Atlantic used to be a last minute chore! The seafarer or the team would rush to the local supermarket and fill up the trolleys. If he was lucky, he would find a recipe or two for freeze-dried foods at a sports shop. Few had access to a nutritionist… During the 2000s, the selection of meals suitable for offshore races was limited, as far as the French market went. But that was before the arrival of Lyophilise & Co team :)
The first supplies
In Lorient, Ariane, a sailing instructor, was far from suspecting the great adventure she was about to embark on, while preparing supplies for her skipper friends. Stacks of freeze-dried Travellunch lunch boxes were gradually taking over the house… reaching even into the bedroom!
The lightbulb moment
In search of dietary diversity for the Jules Verne Trophy, the “Banque Populaire” team imported Canadian brands and suggested that Ariane add them to her own range. The germ of an idea would form after this replenishment ... Why limit yourself to one or two brands? Ariane undertook research in Scandinavian and European countries and broadened her selection.
In the spring, around fifteen sailors would test and keep no less than 300 meals, breakfasts and desserts. This will be THE first catalogue to bring together brands from all walks of life, a first in Europe. The challenge now was to make it accessible to all!
Creation of Lyophilise.fr
“Saveurs et Logistique”/Lyophilise.fr officially opens in February.
With €500 invested in a first website to simplify ordering, there came a surprise! Orders came in from Brest, Lorient, La Rochelle, but also from Chamonix, Albertville, Paris… Sailors are fully up-to-date, as are the mountain friends.
On the logistics side, the small company moved into an 80m² office at Quai Glorieux, nestled on the first floor at the Lorient Offshore Navigation Programme, as close as possible to the sailors.
International development and diversification of the catalogue
Supported by the trilingual Marie, Ariane provided her first supplies for the 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race (her dream!) and opened up to the international market by taking care of customs procedures. Lyophilise.fr is further expanding its catalogue to respond to the issues faced by these large offshore racing teams, but also those by mountain dwellers:
It is always at the last moment that the gas cartridge cannot be found or the stove breaks. Faced with these repeated situations before a race or a hike starting, equipment saw a breakthrough on Lyophilise.fr on the advice of mountain friends.
Staying awake at night in the southern seas or recovering after an ascent
Athletes’ nutrition is very technical. The first “Beef Jerky” (dried meat) would be offered in the replenishing stations, as well as energy/protein bars and remineralising tablets to enrich the water in seagoing desalinators. Beginnings of the “Sports Nutrition” range.
Bringing diversity to recipes, flavours and textures
As freeze-dried foods proved popular as they are light and imperishable, Ariane would rely on sterilised meals to ensure diversity, by selecting European manufacturers and French catering craftsmen. Meals that are heavier to transport, of course, but which offer other textures and are reminiscent of family cooking. These “comfort” foods allow alternation with freeze-dried meals for long races, such as the “Vendée Globe”, and on activities when you do not need to carry your food.
The Start-Up area
All went well, thanks to enthusiasm for the online store. Yet after 2 years, the latter is not up to the task technically, limiting development prospects.
The VSE goes into Start-Up mode, bringing together local financial partners for the project and raising funds. The idea being to create a long-term investment, with success and jobs being at stake!
On the provider side, Octave wins. This is not a new employee, but an ERP and Web specialist, based in Angers, south-west of Paris. The latter assembles on a single platform, the management of the website and customers, the optimisation of logistics and purchases. Nothing to do with other e-commerce solutions.
The same year, Lyophilise.fr entrusted it with the launch of its second website, a new marketing tool translated into English and Spanish.
Birth of the powerhouse team
Demand is growing. At the same time, institutions and businesses located in sensitive areas (weather risks, conflict zones, etc.) are looking for long-life products, such as emergency rations (as found on life rafts) and meals that have been freeze-dried for storage.
A team was formed to safeguard development and respond to requests. Aurore, in charge of order management, can scan faster than her reflection in the mirror. Lydia, the accountant, knows every line of figures by heart. Sébastien, the only man among these crazy women, optimises the online store with new items in food self-sufficiency.
During 2014, daily life with a sea view was magnificent, but the team felt cramped and so moved to rue du Lieutenant de Vaisseau Bourely, to 200m² premises, with a shopfront, if you please!
The chili logo evolves
In the space of 5 years, the online catalogue has evolved, offering a whole universe of products around food self-sufficiency. with the motto, “Eating Well In All Circumstances”. 2015 would be a turning point in representing this diversity, with the advent of the name “Lyophilise & Co” and the rise in outdoor equipment.
Confidence was renewed in Octave to deliver the 3rd website.
Adventurers (hikers, ultra-trail runners, explorers, young retirees in motorhomes, etc.) delight at the wide range on offer.
The Lyophilise & Co team is growing
At the beginning of 2016, wielding various foreign languages, Elodie joined the Trade and International Development department. For she brings a smile and attentive listening to every customer request, whether private or professional. Elise provided reinforcements to the Marketing and Communications section and would unleash her creativity upon the site's campaigns.
In 2017, the Lyophilise & Co team marked a turning point and exceeded one million in turnover. Another point of pride, it equipped the entire flotilla of the Volvo Ocean Race!
In 2018, Clara, a fan of rugby and sailing, joined the Trade Section and advises skippers. With Sébastien, she forms a dynamic duo, on the lookout for new material to stock.
Over 2019, the VSE struggled to accommodate the entire team inside 2 small offices, activity on the website was exponential, supplier pallets were clogging up the rue du Lieutenant de Vaisseau Bourely… Space was lacking, once again!
With the help of “Lorient Agglomeration” and elected officials, an opportunity emerged… So what was this project? To construct a “tailor-made” building at the Lorient Offshore Navigation Programme to meet its logistical and storage needs, as well as offices and spaces with an eye to the future.
In February 2020, 10 years to the day after formation of the company, the Lyophilise & Co team moved to rue du Sous-Marin Vénus for a new workspace of 600m².
300m² over 9 metres in height, dedicated to logistics, and which facilitate both the preparation of orders and the storage of stocks to feed the online store. The team played a part in creating the workspace, especially the offices, and it has turned out to be a success! A showroom was created to welcome individuals and professionals, who can benefit from the sound advice on food, outdoor or survival equipment.
Corentin, joins the ranks of SEO Jedi and bolsters the Marketing/Communication department. The company posted 2.8 million in turnover and 29 of the 33 sailors of the 9th Vendée Globe graced the doors of the new store!
New website in service of “Eating Well in All Circumstances”.
Always with the aim of improving and pushing the boundaries, a new website was born from long-term partner, Octave. More fluid, more intuitive, providing more information, Lyophilise & Co wishes to keep in contact with all its customers, online, by phone, by email, in-store and to continue its development in the service of "Eat well in all circumstances ”internationally.