In big cities, where we have so little control over where our food comes from, making informed choices on what to eat is increasingly valuable. Getting your hands on organic vegetables isn’t too difficult nowadays, but getting responsibly sourced meat, and particularly fish, is a whole other story. Poiscaillle is the startup bringing fresh fish to the French capital straight from the coast within 48 hours, in cooperation with a carefully selected network of independent fishermen.
1.Who is in the Poiscaille team?
Charles and Guillaume are the co-founders. Charles takes care of the supplies and fishermen, and Guillaume is in charge of the restaurants, which constitutes 30% of our turnover. We have two deliverers and one order picker, and I am a trainee recruited by the ESSEC business school incubator to help with the company’s growth, provide support in fundraising and in the development of our activities all over France.
2. How did you come up with the idea of bringing fresh fish from fishermen on the coast directly to customers in Paris?
Charles, one of the co-founders, has been fond of fishing since he was a child. As a trained engineer, he embarked on trawlers for a year to assess the fish stock and was struck by the depletion of resources. Another important finding was the difference in the price, between the fishermen and the consumers at the fish market. After this adventure, the idea was to develop a short-circuit selling platform for responsibly-sourced fish, and Poiscaille was born.
3. Could you tell us a bit about the products you offer and their quality?
We are the only middle person between the fisherman and the consumer. The fish is caught, transported directly to Paris and distributed in less than 48 hours. Our clients tell us that before they discovered Poiscaille they had stopped eating fish in Paris because it was so bad.
The fish found in fishmongers is caught mostly with trawlers between 10 and 15 days before it is sold (3 days to 1 week on the boat, 48 hours transport, and 1 to 7 days in the ice on the fish stalls). The difference is truly noticeable in terms of quality. We are the only ones to offer real fresh fish, as if we were by the sea.
Today, the French always eat the same fish: cod, salmon, shrimp…Without really knowing where it comes from or how it was raised or fished. The speed of this “short route” also allows us to offer fish that the fishing industry can’t provide because it’s too fragile. Our 48 hour delivery system allows us to offer “forgotten” fish. We sell fish like mullet or pout, fish that disappeared from fishmonger stalls 50 years ago, but that are still abundant on the French coasts. These fish are often neglected because they are not well-known and not profitable for fishermen. They are very fragile, and the trawlers and their large nets ruin them and they become unsellable. Moreover, their flesh does not keep long and must therefore be consumed quickly. This is not possible in the usual system, as boats are at sea for several days at a time. We want to restore fish that is abundant but in very little demand, and that is also very good.
4. How do you distribute the fish in the city?
We have over 80 pick up points in the Ile de France region. We are currently looking to establish pick up points in major cities in France and we have just launched home delivery across the country.
5. Finally, why did you choose the name ‘poiscaille’?
Poiscaille is slang for ‘fish’ in French. We wanted a name that corresponded with our image: simple but striking. Many people don’t like our name because it doesn’t fit the usual idea of “marketing”, but we love it precisely for that.