INSPIRING | Califrais revolutionizes the Rungis market and panics the counters – Forbes France

Created in 2014 at the heart of the Rungis market, Califrais is reinventing the fresh food supply chain thanks to artificial intelligence. Simon Bussy, co-founder of Califrais, agreed to answer our questions.

What is the Califrais principle?

Simon Bussy: Created 8 years ago in the heart of the Rungis market, Califrais reinvent the supply chain costs thanks to artificial intelligence. Approach ? Digitize and optimize all stages of the supply of fresh products on a large scale thanks to tailor-made technological tools: from order taking, logistics, catalog and inventory management, to the pooling of flows and the delivery.

Simon Bussy, co-founder of Califrais

Califrais runs the e-commerce site, which brings together wholesalers from Rungis market and allows all food professionals in France to access the wealth of Rungis with more than 10,000 references, thanks to a brand new service.

The value proposition is as follows: a single order for all products to be placed until midnighta unique delivery in record time (from 6am the day after the order in Paris and its proximity, a few hours more for the rest of France), exceptional reliability and quality of servicea single invoice for simplified accounting, and the icing on the cake: ultra-competitive prices all year round and adapted to customer volumes!

This offer is made possible thanks to a perfect control of the operations and an optimal collaboration between the various actors (wholesalers, logisticians, carriers). It is the optimization of the operational layer that allows the service to be the most competitive on the market: before using, a restaurant customer in Île-de-France received an average of 6 separate deliveries per day. The service also saves its customers an average of 7 hours per week thanks to the simplification of supply management. Customers are naturally there!

INSPIRING Califrais revolutionizes the Rungis market and panics the

How did this idea come about?

SB: I created Califrais in 2014 with my friend Pierre Levy who grew up in the kitchens of family restaurants and caterers, and recognized early on the industry’s need for innovation in supply management. About me, I have been passionate about mathematics since childhood and fascinated by complex systems and their modeling. When we discovered the largest fresh produce market in the world at Rungis at the end of our respective studies (HEC Montreal for Rock, ENS then PhD in Machine Learning for me), it was a revelation combining our common love for the land, our thirst for entrepreneurship and our taste for solving massive problems. For 8 years, Califrais shapes technologies that reinvent the food supply chain on a large scale, in an eco-responsible and strong social approach: decarbonization of flows and the fight against food waste are the two principles at the heart of innovation.

You are now piloting the site rungismarket.comhow is AI transforming this market?

SB: Launched in February 2022, the new Rungis Market wholesaler e-commerce site is off to a flying start. And for good reason: in the current context, it is at the rendezvous of food professionals who can be delivered anywhere in France, at unbeatable prices, in unprecedented times, and with record reliability.

The secret ? A technology to pool and optimize all logistics flows and offer a single delivery to customers, which brings together products from all categories.

INSPIRING Califrais revolutionizes the Rungis market and panics the

We created the LabCom LOPF (Large-scale Optimization of Product Flows), a joint laboratory with the LPSM (Probability, Statistics and Modeling Laboratory), one of the largest applied mathematics laboratories in the world with its 200 members. Prestigious institutions support the program: the CNRS, Sorbonne University and Paris City University. This public-private structure is a unique collaboration success: already 4 doctoral students are co-supervised by the two entities, and this is only the beginning.

Just six months after the official launch of, more than 10,000 deliveries have been successfully completed, with a constantly growing proportion of customers outside Île-de-France

New algorithms, using the very latest advances in artificial intelligence, are then created to meet the complex challenges of optimized management of the massive flows of a wholesale food market. The challenge is to make it possible to have the right products at the right time, at the best prices, while avoiding food waste; and to guarantee an optimal quality of service requirement while maintaining strong growth.

The service is also distinguished by its reliability: modeling complex flows makes it possible to anticipate and predict the demand for thousands of products and to optimize pricing and storage strategies, to deal with the risk of shortages. The combination of technology and controlled operational processes then makes it possible to guarantee a service rate of over 98.5%.

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Finally, a new type of tailor-made algorithms has been developed to predict the risk of customer dissatisfaction by feeding on all of the customer interaction data with the service, such as economic activity or operational performance. . This allows sales teams to react very quickly if a problem arises for a customer and to come back to him with adapted and personalized solutions. This family of algorithms can also be used in a context of personalized medicine, when it is a question, for example, of predicting the risk of onset of a disease in a cohort of patients for whom we observe a large number of data.

What are your short term goals? (number of merchants referenced, number of orders placed, growth?)

SB: Already more than 50 wholesalers from Rungis market have joined forces in an unprecedented way to create together the richest B2B catalog of fresh products in the world. Just six months after the official launch of, more than 10,000 deliveries have been successfully completed, with a constantly growing proportion of customers outside Île-de-France. The service is pleasing, with an average rating of 4.8/5 and the number of active customers increasing by 50% every 3 months.

In the short term, the objective is to accelerate the acquisition of customers throughout France, while maintaining the operational excellence of The priority is also to reach a larger target of customers: catalogs dedicated to GMS and caterers are, for example, being fine-tuned.

Finally, the opening of the service to Europe is in progress thanks to the group STEF, European leader in the transport and logistics of food products. Germany, Italy and then Spain are the first three countries concerned.

What is Califrais’ business model?

SB: The economic model is that of e-commerce: goods ordered by professional food customers are purchased from wholesalers just in time by Califraisin order to be pooled and then delivered to the customer in a single delivery, with a single final invoice which already includes logistics and transport.

Another economic model could also be imagined by the start-up. Indeed, wholesale food markets around the world are watching closely the innovative model proposed by Califrais. They are particularly interested in developing technology that could easily be deployed elsewhere.

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INSPIRING | Califrais revolutionizes the Rungis market and panics the counters – Forbes France

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