The French organic market, valued at $2.3 billion, is the second largest in Europe. With strong consumer interest in the environmental impact of food purchases, demand is expected to continue growing. U.S. exports of dried fruits, almonds, aromatic plants and grapefruits remain in demand.
Voluntary - Public
GAIN Report Number:
French Organic Market
Laurent J. Journo
The French organic market, valued at $2.3 billion, is the second largest in Europe. With strong consumer interest in the
environmental impact of food purchases, demand is expected to continue growing. U.S. exports of dried fruits, almonds,
aromatic plants and grapefruits remain in demand. Baby food, food complements and essential oils show strong growth
prospects. An increase in organic retail outlets (specialty stores and supermarkets) is expected to encourage sales across
a broader base.
The French government is supporting organic production by providing financial assistance for land conversion and by
encouraging greater utilization of products in cafeterias and school lunches.
The French organic market, valued at $2.3 billion, is the second largest organic market in Europe. Dried fruits,
almonds, aromatic plants and grapefruits remain in strong demand as do innovative manufactured products, food
complements and essential oils. The French organic market has grown 10% per year since 2002. In 2007, 42% of
consumers consumed at least one organic product per month, compared to 37% in 2003. France is ranked 4th in the
European Union (EU) in organic production, but to encourage more production the French government has initiated a
15 million euro plan to triple the organic acreage by 2012. A growth in retail outlets for organic products is expected to
continue as consumers seek additional access to organic products in restaurants, cafeterias and school lunches.
The 1.6 billion Euro ($2.3 billion) organic market in France accounts for 1.1% of the total food market, with 9.5%
average annual growth from 1989 to 2005. France is the second largest European market for organic products behind
Germany ($5 billion), the United Kingdom ($2.2 billion) and Italy ($2 billion). According to IFOAM (International
Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement), the European market is estimated at $14.2 billion or 47% of global
Sources: FIBL & Agence Bio 2007
The environmental impact of food choices is a key purchasing consideration for French consumers. Thus, organic,
local, seasonal and sustainably produced products receive strong consideration by French shoppers. French consumers
overwhelmingly share a common belief that organic products are more natural, healthier, maintain more nutrients and
help preserve the environment. Organic consumers are primarily educated, working women in the Paris region and in
southwest France. One-third of French consumers intend to consume more organic products, particularly, fruits and
vegetables, meat, dairy and bread and are looking to find more organic products in schools, restaurants and cafeterias.
37% regularly pay up to 11% more for an organic product than its conventional counterpart.
According to Agence Bio, a French organic association, fruits and vegetables have been the most popular organic food
products for several years followed by dairy, eggs, grocery products (oils, pasta, rice), meat (beef, pork, lamb, pork),
poultry and organic bread. Baby food, grocery (pasta, rice, cereals) and milk products are showing strong growth
trends for the future as are food supplements, soy and egg products.
(Note: the European Union does not segregate customs nomenclature to specifically identify organic imports thus trade
statistics are provided by industry and are intended for reference only.)
While importers have consistently bought organic fruits and plants to produce beverages, aromatic and medicinal plants
are also in demand by importers due to rising orders from the cosmetic and aromatherapy industries.
According to trade sources, demand for U.S. products includes medjool dates, aromatic plants, pistachios and almonds.
Research indicates that French importers are unfamiliar with the OTA (Organic Trade Association) as a possible tool to
identify new suppliers and partnerships in the U.S. The best way for a U.S. exporter to penetrate the French market is
to work through an importer or distributor. U.S. companies with branded organic foods may promote them through
trade shows and specialized magazines. FAS/Paris maintains a list of specialized trade shows and magazines.
Imports: All non-EU exporters of organic products must register with the Agence Bio and request an import permit
from the Ministry of Agriculture. However, bilateral agreements with some countries including Argentina, Australia,
Costa Rica, Israel, Switzerland, New Zealand and recently India, eliminate the import permit requirement. The number
of import permits increased significantly in 2007, including requests from Morocco, Turkey and Madagascar.
The U.S. does not have a bilateral agreement with the EU. There are differences in standards. (Please see the OTA
website for a comparison of EU and U.S. standards: http://www.ota.com/standards/other/eu_us.html). There were eight
permit applications from the United States in 2008, for almonds, pistachios, dates and essential oils.
An imported organic product authorized in an EU member country may freely circulate in the European Union.
However, the European Union can demand product withdrawal after reviewing the product file or after a request from a
Member State, generally after an allegation of fraud. Importers must be certified by an approved certifying
organization and must notify the DAF (Department Division of Agriculture and Forestry) of their import business.
French producers must notify the Department Division of Agriculture and Forestry (DDAF) of their activity before
being allowed to use ?organic? in reference to their production method (on labels, advertising, and invoices). This
provision also applies to all operators who process, pack, preserve, or import organic products from third countries
(outside the European Union). Notification is submitted with an official form, circulated yearly.
All products seeking ?organic product? approval must be inspected and certified by an approved organization in France
before being marketed. Presently, six private organizations, Ecocert, Qualite France, Ulase, Agrocert, Certipaq and
Aclave, can inspect organic products and provide the ?agriculture biologique? (organic farming) certification. These
organizations must comply with standards of independence, impartiality, efficiency, and proficiency as defined in
Community regulations and in the provisions of European standard EN 45011 pertaining to organizations in charge of
product certification. Organic products inspected in European Union countries by an appointed authority or by an
approved inspection organization are deemed compliant with regulations. Accordingly, they may be marketed as such.
In addition, they can be used as raw materials.
The primary regulations governing organic farming and the presentation of agricultural products and foodstuffs can be
In addition the latest information on the legislation and the import regulations can be found at:
The French government strongly supports the development of organic farming as a sustainable component of French
agriculture. Since 2005, farmers switching to organic farming have received a tax credit if 40% of their income was
derived from organic farming. The government makes financial assistance available to farmers who convert farmland
to organic production. In 2008, the French Minister of Agriculture instituted 'Organic Agriculture: Horizon 2012 ",
providing funds for research and development of the organic industry in order to triple the area devoted to organic
farming by 2012.
With 661 million euros ($944 million) in sales, supermarket chains, specialty retail stores and independent retail outlets
are the primary distribution channels for organic products. 41% of organic retail outlets in France are less than 10 years
old and more expansion is expected in the future.
Source: Agence Bio 2007
The range of organic products offered to consumers varies among outlets. In general, supermarkets offer basic organic
products (meat, milk, eggs and dairy products) supplied by major French food companies with their own organic brand.
These products comprise 60% of total sales. The product range is limited to around 200 products (excluding fruit and
The top organic brands in France are:
Line of Products
Top Brands Biogram, Bioverde, Lima, Celnat, Lima, Markal,
Euronat Biochamp, Soy Bonneterre, Priméal, La
promavel Vie Claire, Soy,
In specialty outlets the range of products offered is broader and can involve more than 5,000 products. The product
presentation is also different: Many specialty stores offer self-service in bulk sections. Fruits, vegetables and sweets are
the most popular organic items sold by retail chains, followed by savory, bakery and wine products.
Source: Agence Bio ? in euro
The 8 largest organic retail chains in France had $680 million in sales in 2006 and showed average growth of 24%.
The food service sector (hotels, restaurants, institutional catering) represents just 0.5% of the organic market (4 million
euro in sales, equivalent to $5.7 million) but has potential for growth. A recent study showed that French consumers are
very interested in having organic products in restaurants, company cafeterias and school lunches. The French
government is encouraging the incorporation of 20 percent of organic foods in school menus by 2012.
The Main Organic Food Service Companies in 2007
TEAM BIOCOOP VIVRAO BIOFINESSE CENTRALE BIO MANGER BIO
OUEST RESTAURATION DISTRIBUTION
Date of 1999 2004 2001 2000 2004 1993
Sales N/A 900,000 1,250,000 1,600,000 50,000 450,000
Even though France is a dynamic market for sales of organic products, its development of organic agriculture is lagging
behind other European countries. While France ranks first in agricultural production in the EU it ranks 5th in area
dedicated to organic production.
source: FIBL 2008
While the number of organic farms grew dramatically between 1995 and 2002, subsequent growth has been more
modest, rising just 3% in 2007. Area under organic conversion has followed the same trend, with a more robust
increase of 12.4% in 2007.
source: Agreste 2007
The distribution of products produced by organic farms varies somewhat from conventional farms:
- 14% of organic farms are devoted to vegetables; 5% for conventional agriculture
- 21% are sown in field crops; 26% for conventional
- 11% are organic winemakers;16% for conventional
- 23% are in cattle (milk and meat);34% for conventional
Source: Agence Bio 2007
In 2007, there were several notable production developments: Organic oilseed area fell 18%; cultivation of vines rose
by 20%; vegetable area grew 32% and fruits 5%, and in scented plants increased by 28% in response to the growing
need of the cosmetic industry. With the exception of the pork sector, which grew strongly (+17%), production in other
meat sectors remained stable.
In 2007, there were 6402 organic processing and distribution companies operating in France.
Since 2005 both processors and distributors have been required to be certified.
Source: Agence Bio 2007
Companies processing, packaging and storing organic products are varied - the bakery industry dominates the
source: organismes certificateurs 2007
POST CONTACTS AND FURTHER INFORMATION
Governmental Regulatory Agencies
Labeling and Certification for Organic Products
Direction des Politiques Economique et Internationale (DPEI)
MINISTERE DE L?AGRICULTURE ET DE LA PECHE
251, rue de Vaugirard
75732 Paris Cedex 15
Tel : (33-1) 49 55 49 55/ 80 03
Fax : (33-1) 49 55 59 48
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Bureau C3 ? Loyauté
Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF)
MINISTERE DE L?ECONOMIE DES FINANCES ET DE L?INDUSTRIE
59, boulevard Vincent Auriol
75783 Paris Cedex 13
Tel : (33-1) 44 97 33 10
Fax : (33-1) 44 97 30 43
DGAL (Direction Générale de l'Alimentation)
251, rue de Vaugirard
75232 PARIS Cedex 15
Tél : 01 49 55 58 11
Fax : 01 49 55 59 48
Internet : www.agriculture.gouv.fr
Organic Certification Agencies
Dr. William Vidal
Tel: (33-5) 62 07 34 24
Fax : (33-5) 62 07 11 67
Email : email@example.com
Internet : http://www.ecocert.fr
Dr. Xavier Douenel
18 rue Volney
Tel : (33-1) 42 61 58 23
Fax : (33-1) 42 60 51 61
Email : xdouenel@qualite-France.com
Place du Champ de Mars
26270 Loriol sur Drome
Tel : (33-4) 75 61 13 00
Fax : (33-4) 75 85 62 12
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
4 rue Albert Gary
Tel: (33-5) 53 20 93 04
Fax: (33-5) 53 20 92 41
Email : email@example.com
9 avenue George V
Tel : (33-1) 53 57 48 60
Fax : (33-1) 53 57 48 65
Maison de l?Agriculture
85013 La Roche sur Yon
Tel : (33-2) 51 36 83 93
Fax : (33-2) 51 36 84 63
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Organic Trade Associations
French Agency for the Development and the Promotion of Organic Farming
6 rue Lavoisier
Tel : (33-1) 48 70 48 30
Fax : (33-1) 48 70 48 45
E-mail : email@example.com
SYNADIS (National Union of Distributors of Specialized Organic Products)
62 rue Fonneuve
Tel : (33-5) 57 25 38 14
Fax : (33-5) 57 51 38 14
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
FNAB (French Federation of Organic Agriculture)
Email : email@example.com
40, Rue de Malte
Tél : 01 43 38 38 69
Fax : 01 43 38 39 70
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
APCA (Chambers of Agriculture)
9, avenue Georges V
Tél : 01 53 57 10 77
Fax : 01 53 57 10 05
Email : email@example.com
ITAB (Technical Institute of Organic Farming)
149, rue de Bercy
75595 PARIS Cedex
Tél. : 01 40 04 50 64
Fax : 01 40 04 50 66
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
SETRABIO/BIOCONVERGENCE (Union of Processors and Distributors of Organic Products)
36, rue de Picpus
Bât Les Erables
Tél : 01 53 44 79 65
Fax : 01 53 44 79 66
Email : email@example.com
European Union Processors and Distributors of Organic Agriculture.
Website : www.setrabio.com
UNADIET (National Union of specialist dietary organic products)
50 rue Pierre Brunier
Tél : +33 4 72 07 85 26
Fax : +33 4 72 07 85 14
SNHMD (National Union of stores Herbal / Plants and Dietetics)
15 Rue Alsace Lorraine
Tél : +33 4 78 30 84 35
Fax : +33 4 72 00 89 03
IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Farming)
Email : HeadOffice@ifoam.org
SITE : www.ifoam.org
Major Directory of French Organic Food Businesses
Publisher of l?Annuaire Vert (French directory for the organic sector)
11 rue Saint Amboise
Tel: (33-1) 47 00 46 46
Fax: (33-1) 47 00 24 91