Food industry in France: trends in the French F&B market

Food industry in France: trends in the French F&B market

Opportunities in the French food market

The French Food & Beverage consumption amounts around 180 billion and represents and important share-of-wallet of the French consumers. Quality standards are high, but due to the diverse ethnic background of the people living in France, there is a market for practically any product. 

What are France’s current statistics regarding its food industry? (2016 figures)

According to recently announced data by The French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood, and the Forestry office of Statistics and Studies regarding their agri-food:

  • It represents around €180 billion or 20% of the total manufacturing market in France.
  • It consists of almost 16.000 companies that employ almost 400.000 individuals.
  • Most of these companies are small to medium sized in capacity: almost 75% have less than 10 people per firm.
  • Dairy and meat farming bring in approximately 33% of the total revenue while the French beverage market (wine, spirits and soft drinks) brings in 16.1% of the total industry revenues.

Apart from being a top employing industry, the French agri-food sector is the second best exports market for the country. 63% of France’s agricultural produce is sent out of the country. 30% of European beverages sent to non EU nations and 28% of cereal/cereal based products are French.

How is food distributed?

The French food distribution outlets consists of:

  • Specialised wholesalers: Offer a range of technical products;cater to a specialised clientele eg: confectioners
  • Self service depots: Offer a wide variety of food and beverage products
  • Traditional wholesalers: Each one specialises in its own area eg: kitchen equipment, grocery etc; cater to foodservice and retail industries
  • Full-line wholesalers: Mainly cater to foodservice players; offer full range of products

The retail outlets in France consist of hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores and local grocery stores, defined by the space or square feet they occupy and what they offer.

category number of stores surface (million sq m) workforce
hypermarkets 1,838 10.1 328,730
supermarkets 5,361 6.9 157,704
hard-discount 4,757 3.4 36,877
total 11,956 20.4 523,311

Table 1. statistics of retail sector, 2012

The pricing policy in the retail sector is the triple net price, which is the price paid by the distributor to the producer after the discount on invoice, conditional rebates, and discounts for business corporations. This is employed by all retail establishments, currently led by Carrefour (with 20.4% of the market share) and followed by Leclerc, Intermarche, Systeme U, Auchan, and Casino, which comprise 73.3% of the total market.

What are the current consumer trends and opportunities?

There are currently four trends in the French food market. These are:

  • Health and balance: The French try to consume less meat and alcohol and more fruits, vegetables, and mineral water.
  • Speed and ease of use: More and more consumers eat outside their homes and buy meals “on the go”.
  • Traceability and ethics: Because of past food safety scares, there is an increasing demand for certification and labeling.
  • Quality and value for money: Consumers become much more attentive to food prices than household expenses.

If you want to establish a business in France’s food industry, make sure to do a market research and take advantage of these trends for you to better maximize your investments and the market’s potential.

French regulations on food and beverages, however are very strict and often exceed the EU standards. Selling your products in France will require prior authorization by the DGPP, the new French Authority for Protection of Populations. You will also be required to demonstrate that your products are compliant with all the local regulations.

This entry in Europe was updated on March 22, 2018 by specialist.