From pastry to disinfectant, the Picou family at the American front against the coronavirus
Washington (AFP) - In the Picou family's factory in Laurel, Maryland, only the "jam" workshop is in operation.Before the coronavirus pandemic, PastryStar manufactured a myriad of products for fine pastry through United States.
Since then, employees have had to resolve to stock up on bags of sugar, ingredients for caramel or chocolate icing and other pectins to devote themselves to the flagship product of the moment: hand sanitizer.
"For us, it's nothing to manufacture", assures Mireille Picou, a Frenchwoman who founded the company in 1986 with her husband.
The isopropyl alcohol-based formula was approved by the FDA, the US drug agency, "in less than two weeks," she said.
Rather, the difficulty is to find the bottles and their corks.Another problem: the price of the chemical has increased fourfold in a month and a half.
The manufacture of this hydroalcoholic solution is a stopgap - 4,500 to 5,000 946 mL bottles sold in two weeks - although sales could take off with the growing demand from businesses reopening in states that have started deconfinement.
The start of the year had started with a bang for PastryStar: at the end of February-beginning of March, just before the outbreak of the pandemic, turnover had jumped by 35%, a record, thanks to the vogue of cruise passengers - large customers - but also high-end supermarkets like Whole Foods or the distributor Sysco, which supplied the upscale restaurants of the United States with products from the French family.
The fall was sudden from mid-March when the authorities took drastic measures to stem the pandemic.
"Sales were almost zero for three to four weeks," says Antonin Picou, 27, who took over the reins of the family business a year ago.
Posted Date: 2020-07-19