The French kosher market is currently estimated at about $550 million. France is an international trading center for kosher products. Both imported and domestic products are distributed not only in specialized retail and kosher stores, but also in kosher sections of the largest supermarkets.
Voluntary - Public
GAIN Report Number: FR9015
French Kosher Report
Laurent J. Journo
The French kosher market is currently estimated at about $550 million. France is an international trading center for
kosher products. Both imported and domestic products are distributed not only in specialized retail and kosher stores,
but also in kosher sections of the largest supermarkets. The annual growth of this sector is estimated at 16% continuing
a ten-year growth trend. The best prospects for U.S. kosher food products are gourmet-style products including wines,
sauces, condiments, snacks, soups, cookies, confectionery, ready-to-eat meals and Passover products.
SECTION I. SUMMARY
Less than 30 years ago, France's kosher food market was considered an ethnic market niche. However, today, France is
a major market and international trading center for kosher products, currently estimated at $549 million. The French
market has been growing by an average of 16 percent per year since the late 1990s. Kosher foods in France are
consumed by a wide range of consumers who consider kosher products to be healthy, high quality, natural, and good
More than 80 percent of France's Jewish population is of Sephardic origin, which is slightly more influenced by
Mediterranean-style food. However nowadays, kosher consumers are more likely looking for conventional food than
for ethnic food products. The food service industry is very dynamic. More than 300 kosher restaurants, bakeries, and
other eating establishments have opened in Paris alone in the last fifteen years. Imported and domestic kosher products
are distributed not only by specialized retailers and kosher shops, but can also be found in special kosher sections of
major supermarkets throughout France. The best prospects for U.S. kosher food products in France are gourmet-style
products including wines, sauces, condiments, snacks, soups, cookies, confectionery, ready-to-eat meals and Passover
U.S. suppliers are seen as reliable with high Increasing competition in dairy, meat, grocery
quality, innovative kosher products. products including confectionery and wine,
especially from Israel and Europe.
A large variety of U.S. kosher food Educating French and European consumers
ingredients. about the added reliability, traceability and
safety of kosher products.
Kosher certification is used as a marketing tool U.S. manufacturers need to tailor their
in France and the major U.S. kosher products to meet French consumer tastes and
certifications are well known in the market. preferences.
Best prospects are for kosher products that Growing demand for kosher food has
are not domestically produced or unavailable encouraged many French food manufacturers
in sufficient quantities. to obtain kosher certification and resulted in
increased competition for imports.
In addition to the Jewish community, many Many consumers of kosher products prefer
French consumers who are lactose-intolerant locally or regionally produced foods to imports,
and/or vegetarian look for kosher pareve food which are often more expensive.
SECTION II. KOSHER CERTIFICATION ACCEPTANCE/PREFERENCE
To be recognized as kosher, products must be certified by an organization with a rabbinical affiliation. In France, there
are several certification agencies handling kosher supervision and certification. The major organizations include:
Beth Din de Paris (under the supervision of the Grand Rabbi of Paris, Rabbi David Messas), certifies over 60
percent of French kosher food establishments
Rabbinat Loubavitch de France (Rabbi Hillel Pewner)
Rabbinat de Marseille
Beth Din de Lyon
Beth Din de Strasbourg (Rabbi Mordechai Seckbach)
Rabbinat de Moselle (Rabbi Bamberger)
Each organization has its own logo. Some rabbis who do not belong to any of the organizations noted above certify
kosher products under their own names (e.g; Rav Katz, Rav Heyman, Rav Frankforter, Rav Berlinow or Rav
In France and other European countries, there is no equivalent organization to U.S. kosher certifiers such as the OU,
OK, Star K or Kof-K. Although, the Consistoire de France worked on a new certification, ECK.f (European Central
Kashrus France) to become a standard throughout Europe, this initiative failed. Given the great number of agencies and
rabbis now certifying kosher products, it will be a challenge to develop consumer awareness and recognition in Europe
for any single kosher certification.
SECTION III. CONSUMPTION AND MARKET SECTORS
France's Jewish community is comprised of two main groups: the Sephardics from Mediterranean basin countries
mainly from North Africa, and the Ashkenazics from Northern and Eastern European countries. Among the Jewish
community, the religious calendar drives kosher food consumption in France. Consumption increases during religious
holidays, especially Passover, but also Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkoth. In addition, personal and
family celebrations (birthdays, births, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc) and professional events contribute to increased
household and institutional consumption of kosher foods. However, in the mainstream market, kosher product
consumption is generally stable and not subject to seasonal influences.
The mainstream market accounts for about 60 percent of kosher food consumption. In addition to Jewish consumers,
the kosher market also includes:
Muslims and other ethnic or religious groups, especially due to the lack of confidence in France in the halal
certification process, especially for meat and meat products.
Vegetarians and lactose intolerant, who purchase a significant amount of kosher pareve products because
pareve foods contain neither meat nor dairy ingredients
Mainstream consumers select kosher products for different reasons; taste, cultural traditions, a reputation for high
quality, and/or a perception of sanitary and quality assurance provided by the kosher certification. The kosher
certification does not convey the same image in France and in the United States: If in the U.S. the term kosher is
synonymous with most consumers to more controlled and healthier products, this is not the case in France, where the
kosher products are simply considered products that fulfill the Jewish alimentary requirements. That is why kosher
products in France, despite strong growth, are primarily directed to Jewish consumers. French Food manufacturers do
not automatically seek, as in the United States, to certify their products as kosher. However, awarness among
manufacturers is growing that kosher certification can be helpful in marketing to a wider population.
French consumer preferences for kosher products are mainly for:
Fresh catering products
Leading criteria for consumer choice of kosher products:
The certification logo
The list of ingredients
The taste of the product
B. Market Sectors
1. Retail Foods
A. Entry Strategy
Wholesalers are key to the kosher sector in France. They buy directly in large quantities from producers and
manufacturers and then resell to a wide variety of distributors, supermarket chains, other retail stores, specialty stores
and small outlets in neighborhoods with large Jewish populations. The limited number of wholesalers in the kosher
food sector has effectively made them market gatekeepers. As a result, most distributors must work with them to be
able to offer a full array of certified products.
According to a recent study, several distributors, including Kineret (under the name of Cash-Cacher Naouri), Emeth,
Eldaï, Yarden, Cepasco and Zouagui, handle approximately 90 percent of the available kosher products in the French
The majority of the wholesalers import about 50 percent of their products from Israel. In 2008, Israeli exports of food
products were valued at $46.9 million. Other products are manufactured in France or imported from other countries
(including frozen meat from Argentina or Ireland).
U.S. suppliers who want to penetrate the French kosher market need to approach these wholesalers. FAS Paris
maintains a list of the wholesalers, which is available to U.S. food and beverage suppliers upon request.
The major U.S. kosher brand certifications (OU, OK, Star-K, Kof-K) are recognized in France so U.S. kosher
certification has a strong marketing advantage. Exporters of these brands have participated in important French trade
shows and have opened branch offices in Europe. Over the last few years, a number of French suppliers and
wholesalers have attempted to have their food products approved by a U.S. kosher certifier as part of an effort to export
to the United States.
B. Market Summary
In term of sales, wholesalers account for 31 percent of the market, supermarket chains and retail stores for about 49
percent, and the food service sector for about 20 percent. According to a recent study, over the past ten years, 71
percent of French supermarket chains developed a kosher strategy that features the establishment of a dedicated in-store
kosher section and the introduction of new kosher-certified products. This strategy illustrates the dynamism and
growing interest among mainstream retailers in kosher food marketing.
Leading French food companies are also considering the growing kosher market. Several, including Yoplait, Nestlé,
Flodor, Andros, Epi, Daregal and Ancora-Maille, now offer a range of kosher food products. In addition, a number of
French manufacturers have begun to modify the taste attributes of some kosher products to appeal to the mainstream
The distribution network for kosher products has expanded and kosher products are more widely available in France.
Many retailers have added kosher products to their mainstream lines in order to offer a greater variety of products in
their large format stores. Other marketing opportunities have emerged, as new hypermarket centers have opened in
many areas of the country, including the western and southeastern regions of France and the Paris metropolitan area.
C. Company Profiles
The first retail kosher stores were small-specialized outlets in neighborhoods with large Jewish populations.
Subsequently, kosher retail chains were opened in the Paris and Lyon areas as well as southeastern France. Cash
Cacher Naouri now has 24 stores (mainly in the Paris area); its main competitor is Hypercacher with seven stores in the
Paris area. Casher Price has five outlets in the Paris area and one in Lyon. Premier Club has 3 retail stores and Super
Cash has several outlets in Paris, Toulouse and Nice. A specialized kosher butcher chain, Bucher Chain André Krief,
has developed a new e-business concept, and delivers kosher products nationwide to meet the demand of communities
lacking access to kosher outlets.
Localization of retail stores in France - 2008
Some of the large mainstream supermarkets have expanded and diversified their kosher product inventory (Carrefour,
Auchan, Géant, Monoprix, Leclerc and Super U). While these chains only represent about ten percent of kosher food
retail sales, their share is growing. Despite the mainstream retailers? growing interest in kosher, supermarket buyers in
France do not procure kosher food products at the large national wholesale food markets. The retail chains that are able
to procure large volumes and varieties of kosher products work with a small network of kosher food wholesalers to
supply their stores.
D. Sector Trends
In general, French retailers display kosher products in 3 ways:
Kosher food products share shelf space with ethnic products. Some supermarket chains treat kosher foods like
ethnic products, and they might display kosher products next to Asian or Italian food products. Some branches
of Carrefour, Super U, and Casino feature this type of display. They offer a wide variety of products,
including grocery products, beverages, fresh products and sometimes frozen products.
Stock kosher food products with conventional products of the same category (grocery, catering-fresh products,
etc.), although the kosher products may be designated and displayed on their own shelves. The chains
featuring this type of display include Auchan and Leclerc.
Other supermarkets, usually small store formats (such as Franprix), feature a limited display of kosher foods
that could include some fresh products (e.g. tarama, humus and variety meats).
2. Food Ingredients
A. Entry Strategy
Kosher products and ingredients must meet the following requirements:
All ingredients must be kosher-certified;
Product manufacturing processes must conform to kashrus regulations.
The best way for U.S. kosher ingredient suppliers to target the French kosher food processing industry is either to work
directly with the food processors or through wholesalers. In fact, kosher wholesalers in France who supply both the
foodservice sectors contact food processors directly per their needs to meet customer demand (regarding new products,
B. Market Summary
There are approximately 120 kosher manufacturers and processors in France processing meat and dairy products. No
figures are available on the size and growth rate of the overall kosher foods/food-processing industry. Imported raw
materials/ingredients represent about 34 percent of the total domestic supply; they are sourced mainly from other
European countries, but also from Israel and the United States. The amount of raw materials/ingredients imported from
the United States is unknown. However, surveys indicate that France needs a large and varied supply of imported food
ingredients and intermediate products to meet the current strong demand and to accommodate future market expansion.
Opportunities exist for U.S. suppliers of additives, preservatives, flavorings, spices, condiments, sauces, citrus-related
products and nuts. There are also opportunities for ingredient; used to manufacture a number of high value products,
such as gourmet-style products, snacks, soups, sauces, condiments, confectionery, cookies and ready to eat meals.
C. Company Profiles
In France, there are between 500 and 600 companies exclusively handling kosher products, of which:
18 percent are meat and dairy processors, with annual sales estimated at $62 million;
26 percent are wholesalers, distributors and seasonal manufacturers. 40 percent of these companies sell to
supermarkets and 60 percent to specialized retail stores;
40 percent are retailers;
16 percent are hotel/restaurant and food service providers.
The ten largest French kosher food manufacturers produce and distribute kosher foods throughout Europe. In general,
locally manufactured kosher products are more price-competitive than imported kosher products. Producers of kosher
foods are now launching new products on the market, such as biscuits, dairy foods, candies and even organic/health and
specialty-ethnic foods (e.g: Middle-Eastern food, Asian food).
3. Food Service Products
In France, the food service sector is booming. Kosher catering in some large establishments in Paris comprise as much
as 10-12 percent of the sector?s overall business.
In the past fifteen years the number of kosher restaurants in France (mainly in Paris) has increased: There are now over
300 restaurants including 250 in the Paris area. The Grand Rabbinate of Paris receives about 30 applications for
certification annually. There are also 103 caterers, 84 bakeries and 93 butchers.
The estimated value of sales to the kosher hotel/restaurant/foodservice sector in France is approximately $30 million.
Also, airline caterers, such as Servair, the number one airline caterer in France, have developed facilities to produce
kosher meals. Since 2002, the company has expanded its offerings to include kosher vegetarian meals. The variety of
kosher meals produced for airlines now meets a wide range of customer needs, from breakfast to cold and hot meals for
all passenger categories (first-class, business and economy menus).
Sales to the Servip company represent about 20 percent of the kosher catering sector?s sales. Servip, which was created
in 1993, specializes in long shelf-life meals for international catering. The company supplies airlines, sea and rail
companies, as well as hospitals. Servip?s clients include large international companies that account for about 70
percent of the international airline market.
Servip buys food and ingredients in bulk from Israeli and French manufacturers and packages meals according to
specific customer needs. Servip?s product line includes 80 different kosher meals.
SECTION IV. PRODUCTION AND PROMOTION
France is the leading European market for kosher foods due to the large number of kosher consumers and the size of its
kosher food industry. The Jewish community in France is the largest on the continent and about 5,000 institutions buy
kosher products. The ten leading French kosher suppliers manufacture and distribute their products throughout
Europe. As noted previously, kosher products manufactured in France are usually less expensive than imported
Retailers, including supermarket chains (Auchan, Franprix, Carrefour and Leclerc) and specialized retail stores (Cash
Cacher Naouri and Hypercasher) ? carry both imported and local products.
There are over 200 kosher wines produced in France. The French-Jewish community consumes a significant amount of
wine, not only for the Sabbath and holidays, but also at regular meals. In addition, wine is imported, mainly from
Israel, with sales valued at $2.1 million in 2008. However, some American kosher wines reached the French market,
including Baron Herzog (California), and others from New York State. In 2006, French imports of U.S. kosher wine
According to a recent study, the kosher wine market is about $65 million in France. Wine stores, supermarkets and
restaurants are the major distribution channels. Online sales, although marginal (3 to 4%), are growing rapidly, with an
annual growth rate of 30%.
Some French manufacturers/wholesalers of kosher food products are now focusing on the U.S. market and looking for
new sales opportunities. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of French products certified by the
U.S. kosher certifiers (French wine in particular). Trade shows, such as Kosherfest and the Fancy Food Show, have
attracted an increasing number of French buyers as well as exhibitors. Due to the lack of data, it is difficult to measure
French kosher exports to the United States.
SECTION V. PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES
French wine wholesalers Sieva and Royal Wine Europe often organize wine tastings to increase their sales in the kosher
and non-kosher markets. Wines from France, Israel, the United States and other countries are displayed and tasted at
Although, a number of U.S. products interest French wholesalers, there are several market constraints including:
High freight costs
EU regulations on color agents, GMOs, enriched flour, hormone treated beef, poultry treated with anti-
microbial treatments (AMTs) and translation into French of nutritional information for labels
Please look at the FAIRS Report for more information: http://www.fas.usda.gov/gainfiles/200812/146306794.pdf
The flavors and packaging of some traditional Jewish foods manufactured in the United States, which are kosher, do
not suit the tastes or meet the requirements of the French market.
FAS/Paris organizes French buyers missions to the Kosherfest show, held annually in the United States, since 2002.
SECTION VI. POST CONTACTS AND FURTHER INFORMATION
Trade Shows in France:
International Food Show (SIAL)
Parc des Expositions ? Paris-Nord Villepinte
October 17-21, 2010
Organizer: IMEX Management, Inc.
Tel: (704) 365 0041
Consistoire de Paris :
Rabbinat de Loubavitch:
For lists of Kosher food importers/distributors and wholesalers in France, please contact:
Office of Agricultural Affairs
2, avenue Gabriel ? 75382 Paris, Cedex 08
Tel: (33-1) 43 12 2245
Fax: (33-1) 43 12 2662
For more information on exporting U.S. food products to France, visit our homepage. The Office of Agricultural
Affairs homepage includes information on the hotel, restaurant and foodservice sector, and the retail food sector; as
well as Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards, product briefs on the market potential for U.S.
products, and upcoming promotional trade shows and fairs in France.
For more information on exporting U.S. agricultural products to other countries, please visit the Foreign Agricultural
Service home page: