How the Rungis market wants to take its digital turn

The Rungismarket digital platform, launched in February 2022, allows restaurateurs to obtain supplies from Rungis wholesalers by placing a single order.

On the Rungis market, south of Paris, it’s effervescence from the early hours of the morning. From fish to meat, including flowers, fruit and vegetables, 2.8 million tonnes of fresh produce pass through the famous Ile-de-France wholesale market every year to feed 18 million consumers. There are more than 700 wholesalers at work in the Rungis pavilions – sometimes a headache for professionals who have to supply themselves with foodstuffs, forced to juggle between orders and phone calls.

Screenshot of the Rungismarket website.
Screenshot of the Rungismarket website. © Rungis Market

This is the bet of the Rungismarket website: to digitize this gigantic market to facilitate the supply of restaurants, caterers, traders and other grocers. In 2018, a first attempt under the same name was a failure. The platform has been operational again since February: it allows professionals to obtain supplies from wholesalers by placing a single order. “The advantage is to have only one delivery, only one invoice and only one interlocutor in the event of a problem”, advances Pierre Lévy, founder of Califrais.

Artificial intelligence

Incubated at Rungis itself, Califrais won the call for tenders launched in 2021 by Semmaris, the semi-public entity responsible for managing the wholesale market, to give the platform a second chance. The start-up now manages the operation of the Rungismarket website, associated with the fresh produce transporter Stef and the customer relations outsourcing specialist Webhelp – the three companies had come together to respond to the call for offers. “It’s our technology and our logistics” behind Rungismarket, explains Pierre Lévy.

The poultry pavilion around 4 o'clock in the morning.
The poultry pavilion around 4 o’clock in the morning. © BFM Business
The start of order preparation at the Califrais warehouse.
The start of order preparation at the Califrais warehouse. © BFM Business

A layer of artificial intelligence has been added to the platform to manage the huge mass of data and provide the most up-to-date information possible. At Rungis, the prices and supplies of these perishable foodstuffs may vary from day to day depending on supply and demand. All the more complicated since a large amount of information must be taken into account for fresh products (maturity, size, provenance, labels), which are not always the same depending on the product category, and use-by dates (DLC ) very short.

15,000 deliveries

Once the order has been placed by the customer, before midnight, it is sent to the wholesalers. The latter prepare the goods then send them to the Califrais warehouse where they are put together on a single pallet per customer. To carry out the logistics, the wholesalers have been trained in the use of the digital tool “so that they are as autonomous as possible”, explains Pierre Lévy. Then head to the Stef warehouse, where the pallets are stored in the trucks. Drivers start at 5:30 a.m. and arrive at 6 a.m. inside Paris.

The loading of the trucks at the Stef warehouse shortly before the departure of the drivers.
The loading of the trucks at the Stef warehouse shortly before the departure of the drivers. © BFM Business

About 15,000 deliveries have already been made since the launch of the platform. To encourage market wholesalers to join their platform, its managers play on the argument of the additional sales channel and show themselves to be conciliatory, sometimes preparing the orders themselves. Rungismarket currently brings together around sixty companies and 10,000 references: the objective is to increase to 200 wholesalers by the end of 2024, i.e. approximately 30% of those installed in Rungis. “We want to multiply by ten the number of products sold” by this time, anticipates Pierre Lévy.

Jeremy Bruno BFMTV journalist

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How the Rungis market wants to take its digital turn

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