The Biscuiterie Mistral adapts its madeleines to the tastes of consumers


Biscuiterie Mistral has been based in Semur-en-Auxois for 50 years. To relaunch it, its new director, Bernard Chauvel, was able to preserve traditional know-how by introducing new products and turning to large-scale distribution.

It is a sweetness that makes gourmets go crazy! Difficult for a Burgundian not to know the famous mistral biscuits and the taste of his inimitable chocolate-covered madeleine, the chocobeur.

Biscuiterie Mistral was founded in Paris in 1954 before moving to the Côte-d’Or in Semur-en-Auxois in 1974. This factory produces several ranges of madeleines, four quarters and brownies which are initially marketed only in the region and then throughout France. Over time it has been able to adapt to the spirit of the times and to the evolution of consumer tastes and habits.

It produces around 600 tons of biscuits a year and employs 50 people with the shops.

Initially, Biscuiterie Mistral was a regional company that developed thanks to factory councils. In the 2000s it underwent a decline following major changes in France.

It is facing a decline in orders from works councils and, with the arrival of the Internet, consumption patterns are changing. This is a time when Mistral is overdue.

In France, the madeleine represents an important market. Biscuiterie Mistral has to make its way by positioning itself out of the competition with large companies.

Bernard Chauvel came to the helm of Biscuiterie Mistral in 2016. After spending 20 years in Japan, he returned to France with the desire to take over a business in the food sector. Mistral is for sale and embarks on this new adventure.

The brand was well established, the products were good. My idea was to take back what already existed and also to innovate with slightly different cakes to revive a business that was a bit on the decline.

Benoit Chauvel has arrived at a critical time for the biscuit factory. To energize it, he chooses quality, proximity and organic products.

⋅ The products that make up the madeleines and quattro quarters come from the surrounding area.

For this new director, the city of Semur and the company have a closely linked history that he wishes to preserve. He chooses to use regional ingredients that he retrieves as close to the company as possible. An approach that matches the tastes of consumers in search of short circuits.

And since the quality of our food has also become an important ecological issue, organic finds its place in the range of products on offer. But the company is committed to giving the same yield of cookies so as not to disappoint consumers.

During his 20 years in Japan, Benoit Chauvel has been able to experiment with other flavors.

To renew the brand, it launched the production of a madeleine flavored with Macha, a green tea used in Japanese pastry. This new madeleine less buttery than the traditional chocobeur, with a beautiful green color, should be followed by other flavors such as yuzu, a fruit native to Asia, or cinnamon.

Mistral developed a lot thanks to works councils in the 1980-1990s. At the time, these clustered purchases were the main outlet.

At the same time, Biscuiterie Mistral is playing the direct selling card. He initially opened the shop in Semur-en-Auxois, followed by four others: Dijon, Quetigny, Auxerre and Valentin in Doubs. This sales method is destined to develop with the intention of opening shops in the south and north of the Côte-d’Or.

Benoit Chauvel also used new ways of distributing mistral biscuits with sale in medium and large-sized stores. Since his arrival at the helm of the company, he has been able to relaunch it by innovating while respecting the history of this biscuit factory based in Burgundy-Franche-Comté for 50 years. To celebrate this anniversary, he would like to obtain the “Living Heritage Company” label.

Bernard Chauvel is guest of France3 Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, in the program “You are great”, presented by Pascal Gervaize.

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