Sarthe: family of farmers makes straws to drink in rye

Since 2021, the company Végépaille has produced and markets natural straws that can replace those in plastic. Faced with the influx of orders, she has already recruited six people.

by Jean-François Baron

In the Bourmault family, located in Luché-Prongé, in the south of Sarthe, has been produced for decades in order to feed the farm animals. Recently, however, the cereal finds another use: the production of drinking straws. The initiative is gaining momentum at the same time as it transforms the life of the family.

“It all started, in 2019, a wholesaler who was looking for strands of rye to make drinking straws”, reports Cassandra Bourmault, 28. “We agreed to provide him with it, but he also had to find a transformer.” Graduated in agriculture and trade, the future president of Végépaille then smells the potential of the project since the plastic will no longer be authorized from 2021 . She proposes to take care, with her parents and her brother, of the transformation of the strands.

The young woman finds a manufacturer in the Somme (Ascodero) capable of designing a machine allowing the industrialization of the straw cutting. Several months of adjustments and 700,000 euros of investment later, the cutter was operational, in March 2021, in one of the hangars of the farm. It produces an increasing number of these small drinking tubes which measure between 8 and 19 centimeters and are sold by vegetable at the price of ten cents of euro. 2>

requests for wholesalers and retirement homes

“We are going to reach the production of six million straws per year”, smiles the entrepreneur, who sees clients flow. “This goes from the particular to the large and average surface, including the grocery store. We also have requests for wholesalers as well as retirement homes”. The latter appreciate the qualities of the product, which “does not capture heat, unlike stainless steel, and which does not soften, unlike paper”.

Requests even arrive from abroad, but the Bourmault family is waiting to be able to answer them. Végépaille has already recruited six workers to ensure the production of its 100 % natural product. In addition, the family employs four people in order to lend a hand in the two farms. Cassandra, Philippe, Marylène and Primaël Bourmault consider the future with serenity. Machines, recruitments and new products are also envisaged for the years to come.

/Media reports cited above.