Stéphane Layani’s column – CEO of Rungis Market

Interview with Stéphane LAYANI, CEO of Rungis International Market, and retrospective of 2016

What have your main sources of satisfaction been over the course of 2016?

I have experienced a great deal of satisfaction as Director of SEMMARIS. From the official opening of the organic indoor market by the President of the Republic, which marked 2016 as the year of all things organic, to the creation of the new pavilion that was topped off with the opening of the Cantine du Troquet – the new gastropub by Christian Etchebest and Stéphane Bertignac. The opening of the Comptoir du Carreau, meanwhile, has offered a wonderful insight into the goods produced here in the Île-de-France region. In broader terms, not a month has gone by without evidence of some form of innovation, modernisation or renewal, including, for example, the installation of fibre optic communications right throughout the Market. All of these investments have fallen within both the budgets and time frames allocated. Rungis is thus changing and improving on a day by day basis. Rungis Market is now an international hub of gastronomy and logistics, and it is rightly recognised as such.

Stéphane Layani – CEO of Rungis International Market


Aerial view of Rungis Market


You recently introduced a new roadmap for the 2016-2020 period. How does it differ from the 2012-2016 version?

Stéphane Layani – CEO of Rungis International Market


The new roadmap I’ve produced continues on from the first. And that’s where its strength lies – it is headed in the same direction. Having analysed the current situation we are now meeting the needs that our teams have identified: firstly by consolidating the basics – listening to the consumer – through the development high-quality, organic, local, etc. offerings, secondly by ensuring that the Rungis 2025 Investment Plan announced the previous year, which will create the tools we need for the operators of the future, is implemented, and thirdly – in a new move – by focusing more on the wider market. Initially on the international stage, which we also began focusing on last year, but also at regional level. We are implementing a national strategy that involves more advanced collaboration with other wholesale markets, the aim being to contribute to the formation of regional hubs for fresh produce in France. Last but not least, we are continuing our efforts to create a marketplace that will revolutionise the BtoB fresh produce sector, providing wholesalers with a new tool that will give Rungis significant leveraging power.

What will the Market of the future look like?

Rungis will focus simultaneously on modernising itself and creating links. Modernising itself in response to disruptions to the food system that had prevailed since the post-war period – disruptions brought about by changes in our diets and the rise in the popularity of e-commerce. And creating links because Rungis is becoming closer to its target market and taking on an increasingly human dimension. We are witnessing a disruption in existing trading practices, combining expectations of both quality and proximity and making the Market an essential platform. What better place is there than Rungis to meet the demand for quality whilst offering so many different products under one roof? The Market is doing well because the various players involved bring added value to the products sold there, which is what a wholesale market is all about. It is also the reason for which the Market continues to win market share, particularly in certain segments, in what is currently a stable market. I like to say that, when all is said and done, Rungis is also something of a style guide that can be used to adapt to the current market based on long-term changes whilst also drawing inspiration from more fleeting events.

Would you say, then, that the Rungis model really has vision?

It is certainly an ethical model as it is one of mutual benefit. It enables small and medium-sized enterprises to carry weight in a vast industry by overcoming their isolation and enabling them to focus on their core business – sourcing and sales – thanks to the various services that SEMMARIS provides. I believe in the power of working together, and the strategy that I have developed is the result of multiple exchanges with our operators and shareholders. It is thanks to their efforts and their support that Rungis increasingly proves itself to be not only a terrific brand but also an effective concept, which will enable the Market to continue to expand over the coming years.