20 years of collaboration with La Motte

A new onion sorting and packaging line for one of France’s biggest supermarket suppliers


Ferme de la Motte (La Motte farm) is a family business that was founded in 1967. It is one of France’s biggest suppliers of fresh condiments (onions, garlic and shallots) and potatoes to large supermarkets. To stay ahead of the competition, the company has been working with Eqraft for more than 20 years.

In the heart of Beauce (in the middle of France), La Motte harvests, packages and sells 50,000 tons of products annually. A substantial part of that – some 17,000 tons – is organic agricultural products. The company is run by five brothers and cousins of the Lemaire family and it has annual revenue of 50 million euros, 70% of which is earned through large supermarkets. “We aim to be a reliable and consistent partner to our customers,” says Matthieu Lemaire, one of the brothers. “Besides having attractive prices, it’s important to be able to deliver at any moment, without breaking the chain. Because we are a family business, we can offer reliability and continuity but also fast service.

Always alert to changing market trends, La Motte was an early adopter of more organic products in 2003. The company is known for offering high-quality products and their range is still being expanded. Besides full traceability of their products, La Motte has developed innovative lines (braiding, clustering and de-tasseling of condiments) in order to attract new customers. “When doing business with large supermarkets, you should never feel like you’ve won the game,” says Matthieu. “You always have to keep moving forward and improve yourself.”

Enabling growth

La Motte started working together with Eqraft – at the time still operating under the name ERC Machinery – at the end of the 1990s. The company was looking for a machine to calibrate their ‘echalions’ (a cross between an onion and a shallot). “In those days, the echalion was our most promising product and ERC had the machine we needed,” says Matthieu. This first order was the start of a collaboration that would continue to develop as the French company grew.

Whether they needed a simple topping machine, a complete packaging line or a traceability tool, La Motte has always looked to Eqraft for advice on expansion projects or for the replacement of existing machines. “We’re both family businesses; that’s probably why our collaboration works so well,” Matthieu believes. “The Dutch aren’t always the easiest people to work with, but at Eqraft they recognize the importance of customer satisfaction and the human aspect of business relations – just like we do. What I’ve always appreciated is the fact that I can call Gerard, the director, without hesitation. That saves me time during negotiations or when there’s a technical problem.”

Key factors: In-depth knowledge and premium service

Matthieu appreciates the in-depth knowledge that Eqraft brings to the table. He explains: “Holland is the largest exporter of onions. Eqraft knows the market and its demands through and through, just like the latest technological developments. That’s why they can offer innovative solutions for automation. Whatever our demands, they help us to continuously move forward.” He also underscores the importance of good after-sales service since, nowadays, machines communicate with each other through complex and intricate software. “The service level offered by Eqraft is higher than what is offered in France. There’s always someone available to help.” In many cases, a defect can be solved over the internet, but when necessary, the service team can also arrive on site quickly. Matthieu adds: “If my production line has to be paused, that’s a huge problem for my company. Eqraft understands that. They make sure things are solved quickly and thoroughly and, when needed, the director himself comes. That’s a fantastic level of service.”

A future of continuity

In June 2018, Eqraft will deliver a new onion sorting and packaging line to La Motte. This will enable the French company to even better meet the demands of large supermarkets. It also represents a confirmation of the bond between the two companies. “There’s a lot of mutual trust and respect. We say things as they are; we can be honest with each other,” emphasizes Matthieu. He adds: “Our demands help shape the Eqraft products of the future. We both benefit from helping each other.”

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