Approximately 70 percent of French household food purchases were made in hyper/supermarkets, and hard discounters.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: FR9608
Retail Food Sector
Laurent J. Journo
Ag Marketing Specialist
In 2011, consumers spent approximately 13 percent of their budget on food and beverage purchases.
Approximately 70 percent of household food purchases were made in hyper/supermarkets, and hard
discounters. As a result of the economic situation in France, consumers are now paying more attention
to prices. This situation is likely to continue in 2012 and 2013.
Average exchange rate used in this report, unless otherwise specified:
Calendar Year 2009: US Dollar 1 = 0.72 Euros
Calendar Year 2010: US Dollar 1 = 0.75 Euros
Calendar Year 2011: US Dollar 1 = 0.72 Euros
(Source: The Federal Bank of New York and/or the International Monetary Fund)
SECTION I. MARKET SUMMARY
France’s retail distribution network is diverse and sophisticated. The food retail sector is generally
comprised of six types of establishments: hypermarkets, supermarkets, hard discounters, convenience,
gourmet centers in department stores, and traditional outlets. (See definition Section C of this report).
In 2011, sales within the first five categories represented 75 percent of the country’s retail food market,
and traditional outlets, which include neighborhood and specialized food stores, represented 25 percent
of the market.
In 2011, the overall retail food sales in France were valued at $323.6 billion, a 3 percent increase over
2010, due to price increases. Hyper/supermarkets and hard discounters represented food sales value of
$248.6 billion, convenience, gourmet, and frozen food stores $18.1 billion and traditional outlets $56.9
After three difficult years, in 2011, the overall volume food sales in France remained. Last year was
considered an important year for the retail food sector. First, because of the large retailers’ emerging
“drive-thru” service, and secondly, decreased sales during the second quarter which encouraged large
retailers to expand their private labels offer, as well as invest further in smaller format stores.
Major French Imports of Selected Agricultural and Food Products, Total and United States,
Calendar Years, 2007-2011 (in millions USD)
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
In U.S. $ Million Total USA Total USA Total USA Total USA Total USA
Animal (including marine
Meat and offals 4,889 31.1 5,614 34.3 5,279 6.9 5,204 4.3 5,781 7.4
Fish and Seafood 4,225 222.4 4,469 231.5 4,319 215.9 4,732 238.6 5,186 300.2
Milk products, including eggs 3,497 14.1 3,644 17.1 3,303 5.4 3,541 7.8 4,140 22.9
Vegetables 3,065 27.2 3,317 28.6 2,931 26.2 3,188 28.1 3,142 27.6
Fruit 4,227 185.7 4,996 185.6 4,284 164.4 4,432 166.5 4,537 195.4
Coffee, tea, spices 1,407 1.2 1,997 2.0 1,997 0.5 2,039 0.7 2,739 1.1
Rice 373 2.1 548 4.2 504 3.4 432 3.4 505 4.0
Corn 339 20.0 287 36.9 329 42.5 254 19.1 288 14.7
Animal and vegetable fats 2,247 9.5 3,775 10.3 2,609 10.5 2,405 11.5 3,275 33.4
Food industry products/canned
and dry grocery products
Canned and prepared meat and fish 1,795 7.2 2,157 8.1 2,018 7.6 1,874 10.2 2,104 11.9
Sugar and sweet foods 1,183 6.1 1,212 3.5 1,081 7.3 1,015 6.3 1,189 9.3
Cocoa based foods 2,549 2.5 2,903 1.6 2,830 0.1 2,944 0.1 3,309 1.3
Cereal based foods 2,812 5.4 3,524 6.2 3,248 4.0 3,085 6.1 3,533 9.2
Preparations of fruits, vegetables, 3,488 55.6 4,078 52.2 3,840 55.0 3.,703 54.7 4,237 67.5
nuts and other parts of plants, incl.
Jams, fruit purees and fruit juices
Other prepared foods 2,006 24.4 2,325 29.4 2,267 30.4 2,274 30.8 2,596 34.2
Including mustards and sauces
Beverages, including wines, 3,424 100.6 3,925 112.1 3,628 124.3 3,549 156.0 4,212 197.9
spirits, alcohols and vinegar
Animal feeds 2,393 15.7 3,509 56.4 2,941 10.2 2,865 96.5 3,098 32.8
Source: Global Trade Atlas/French Customs (Direction Nationale des Statistiques du Commerce Exterieur –
a. Hypermarket: Stores with more than 2,500 sq.m. (25,000 sq.ft) selling a wide
variety of food and non-food items.
b. Supermarket: Stores with between 400 sq.m. and 2,500 sq.m. (4,000 to 25,000
sq.f) selling a wide variety of foods and non-food household goods.
c. Hard discounters: Small supermarkets with a limited range of low cost products,
often private label.
d. City Center Store/Superette: Stores with less than 400 sq.m. (4,000 sq.ft) selling
food and basic non-food household goods.
e. Neighborhood Store: Stores located within cities selling a wide variety of food,
specialty foods and non-food items.
f. Specialized Food Store: A unique concept of retail stores selling a variety of food
including frozen entrees/hors d’oeuvres to desserts.
g. Gas Marts: Gasoline stations generally equipped with small, self-service food
Expected growth rate of the overall food retail market and sub-sectors:
Due to increase in unemployment (9.9 percent expected at the end of 2012), and the economic crisis,
the French economy is expected to slowdown in 2012 with a growth limited to 0.4 percent (compared to
2 percent in 2011). According to the National Institute for Economic Statistics (INSEE), GDP French
in 2012 was stagnant during the first six months; the growth may reach 0.1 percent during the third
quarter and 0.2 percent in the last quarter of the year. The French purchasing power is expected to
decrease by 1.2 percent in 2012, its more important decline since 1984. Consequently, price will remain
the number one priority for food purchases. The majority of consumers will continue to prefer
hyper/supermarkets private labels, while others will let competition play between outlets and some may
prefer to buy branded products in lesser quantities to better balance their food budget.
Consumers also appreciate the fidelity programs offered by supermarkets to attract regular customers.
Promotions are considered less attractive. Cheaper products are preferred long-term rather than grouped
promotions. Eco responsible behavior is increasing and if only 15 percent of consumers choose their
products according to this criterion, 85 percent are sensitive to it: tendency is to “100-miles
diet”, regional products, fair trade, recycle packaging, and environment impact.
The overall number of hyper/supermarkets outlets decreased over the past years, but their surface area
have expanded to average 232 square meters. In the meantime, hard discounters strongly developed,
especially the Dutch stores (Aldi, Lidl and Norma) extending their sales area by about 50 percent,
compared to 30 percent for French hard discounters.
Over time, local factors have influenced the development of traditional outlets. Between 1993 and
2000, traditional outlets lost market share, but since it was tended to stabilize and even increase for
certain types of stores, such as fruits and vegetables, beverages, and grocery products stores. This trend
is expected to continue in 2012.
Trends in distribution channels and number/type of retail outlets:
France’s major retailers, by 2011 sales, are the following: Carrefour, Leclcerc, ITM Entreprises (Les
Mousquetaires), Auchan, Systeme U, Casino, and Cora. In 2011, food sales of the top food retailers
were valued at $249 billion. Hyper and supermarkets were the leading retailers in France with 74
percent food sales.
Hard discounters gained ground against hyper/supermarkets to reach 14 percent market share in 2011.
This was due to food price increase, and consumer concerns as to decrease in their purchasing power.
Major French Food Retailers, Number of Stores by Type:
Type of Store 2010 2011
Hypermarkets 1036 1194
Supermarkets 3913 5020
Hard Discounters 4332 4707
Trends in services offered by retailers such as ready-to-eat-to-cook prepared foods, take out
(home meal replacements), home/office delivery (eating in between), internet sales, and
restaurants and other businesses located in the supermarket:
For several years, hyper/supermarkets have taken over the restaurant/fast-food market share, by selling
ready-to-eat products, such as roasted meats, fresh-baked bread, and pastries. Increased competition
from hard discounters forced hyper/supermarkets to develop lines of discounted products. Large
retailers increased their development of private branded products to capture more value in-house. The
French legislation of 2006, which limited the number of new hypermarket/supermarket openings
prompted large stores to expand their existing surface area. After complaints from traditional outlets
that this new measure benefitted existing hyper/supermarkets, a 2008 modification of the legislation
included in the “Loi de modernisation de l’économie” (LME), allowed the opening of new stores under
1,000 square meters. The LME also enacted a reform for the development of competition for the benefit
of consumers, thus permitting suppliers and retailers to negotiate purchasing prices. This reform called
“Loi Chatel” was aimed at increasing household purchasing power, reduce retailer margins and sales
In spite of the efforts spent by retailers to develop E-food sales (numerous websites, drive-thru service,
and home delivery), food internet sales represented only 2 percent of total food sales, valued under 1
billion dollar in 2011. Prospects are good for expected increase of this concept.
Advantages, Opportunities, and Challenges U.S. Products Face
Approximately one French household out of Lack of brand and variety awareness of U.S.
three can afford imported food products from food products by consumers.
The food retail industry is looking for new Introduce new-to-market brands and products:
imported food products. U.S. suppliers and importers must work closely
with retailers to expand existing product lines.
American food and food product remain quite U.S. suppliers must comply with European and
popular. French regulations.
Efficient domestic distribution systems. Domestic and intra-EU imports dominate the
Consumers demand quality, innovative, healthy U.S. suppliers adapt products must adapt to
products. French consumers’ tastes and expectations.
Changing lifestyles, demographic changes, and U.S. products must adapt to French consumers’
the economic crisis fuel growth in the retail needs regarding price, practicality, variety,
sector. quality, and packaging.
SECTION II. ROAD MAP FOR MARKET ENTRY
1. Entry Strategy
The most common method of market entry is using an importer to place your product in the market.
Thus, it is important to establish a relationship with an importer and, to do so, you must provide a
product promotion kit, to include samples and prices. The importer will verify that your product meets
EU import requirements, such as labeling and ingredient regulations and will verify your financial
reliability. If interested, the importer will engage in price negotiations.
FAS Paris maintains a list of importers for your use. A directory of European importers “American
Foods in Europe – Your Guide to European Importers of U.S. Food and Beverage Products” is also
available online at: http://www.american-foods.org/
Importers place products with retail stores and with central purchasing offices. It is common for large
retailers to participate in a central purchasing office to share the costs of purchasing and distribution.
The central purchasing office buys products direct as well as from importers and distributors and
provides them to retail outlets.
Central Purchasing Offices/Buying Groups:
Major food retailers buy products from central buying offices. These offices usually source products,
handle import (customs) formalities, logistics, supply, maintenance, delivery, and sometimes pricing
and labeling for their retail customers. They insure that foreign-sourced products meet all import
requirements, including food labeling, packaging, and other market specifications. The goal for a U.S.
exporter is that its product meets all the import requirements and that the central buying office includes
it in its product catalogue. Food retail buyers use this catalogue to make purchases for their stores. (See
“Building a relationship with hyper/supermarket’s central buying office or purchasing department”
In order to present a product to a central buying office, a U.S. supplier should:
Submit product description and price quotations;
Submit products for laboratory testing;
Determine sanitary/health certification and other import documents requirements
General Import Requirements:
For products exported to France, the following general requirements apply:
Labels should be in French with the following information:
Shelf life: indicated “used by” and “best before” dates and other storage requirements;
Precautionary information or usage instructions, if applicable;
Statement of contents: Ingredients, weights, volumes, etc., in metric units. All additives,
preservatives and color agents must be noted on the label with a specific group name or “E” number;
Country of origin and name of importer or vendor within the EU;
Manufacturer’s lot or batch number.
You will find additional labeling rules on food allergens and nutritional products, packaging, container,
food additives regulations and trade barriers.
Building a Relationship with a Hyper/Supermarket’s Central Buying Office or Purchasing
Stages / Goal Action Follow-Up
Stage 1 – Create Send a product promotion kit to With additional information on
interest in your appropriate buyer who transmits it to companies and factories, sanitary
product. the marketing department who may ask certificates, ISO, HACCP
The goal is to be for samples: If interested, meeting with certificates – Prices are not
listed or supplier requested. necessary at this stage.
referenced in a
An importer can offer several advantages to a U.S. supplier: market insight, information about
competitors, and established retail business connections.
Stages / Goal Action / Means
Stage 1 – Establish a Send a product promotion kit with samples; indicate prices
Stage 2 – Check the The importer verifies that the manufacturing plants meet standards and
supplier’s reliability regulations as well as the financial reliability of the supplier
Stage 3 – Commercial Price negotiations and discounts for large quantity purchases. Define
offer logistical requirements. An exclusive contract is usually for three years.
Note: - The price needs to be included with the file when building a relationship with an importer,
while it is not necessary in building a relationship with a hyper/supermarket.
2. Market Structure
Distribution Chanel Flow Diagram
French Retail Food French Retail Food French HRI
Sector (HRI) Sector (HRI) Sector
U.S. exporters can gain market entry to the retail service sectors in several ways: through
representation by an importer, through having their products placed in a central purchasing office
catalog and by selling to cash and carry outlets. Food buyers use central buying offices, importers and
cash and carry dealers to procure their products.
A. HYPERMARKETS, SUPERMARKETS AND HARD DISCOUNTERS.
1. Major Hyper/Supermarkets/Hard Discounters (billion USD) CY 2011
Retailer Names/Groups and Ownership Sales in CY 2011 Location Purchasing
Outlet Type (in France and Agent Type
Carrefour French 48.9 (without tax) France + Importers
(Hyper/Supermarkets + foreign
convenience stores) countries
E. Leclerc French 52.5 (including tax) France + Central Buying
(Hyper/supermarkets, Europe office
Inrermarche (Les French 38.7 (including tax) France + Central Buying
Mousquetaires) foreign Office
(Supermarkets, hard discounter, countries
and convenience stores)
Groupe Auchan French 27.6 (without tax) France + Direct
(hyper/supermarkets, + foreign
convenience stores) countries
Systeme U French 29.3 (including tax) France Direct
Groupe Casino French 26.0 (without tax) France + Central Buying
(Hyper/supermarkets, hard foreign Office
discount + convenience stores) countries
Cora French and Belgian 8.5 (including tax) France and Importers
(Hyper/supermarkets) (Groupe Louis Europe
Lidl German 7.8 (without tax) – France + Central Buying
(Hard discounter) Estimate Europe Office
Aldi German 3.8 (without tax – France + CentralBuying
(Hard discounter) Estimate foreign Office
Dia/Ed Spanish 3.3 (without tax) France + Central Buying
(Hard discounter) foreign Office
Norma German 0.5 (without tax) France and Central Buying
(Hard discounter) Europe Office
Source: Lineaires/Panorama Trade Dimensions 2012
2. Major Hyper/Supermarkets and Hard Discounters by Number of Stores, CY 2011 (*)
Hypermarkets Supermarkets Hard discounters
Outlet Name Number of Outlet Name Number of Outlet Number of
Stores stores Name Stores
E. Leclerc 486 Intermarche 1340 Lidl 1626
Carrefour 243 Carrefour Market 969 Dia/Ed 916
Auchan 141 Franprix 892 Aldi 910
Geant Casino 118 Super U 746 Leader 595
Intermarche 85 Simply 393 Netto 354
Hyper U 62 Casino 393 Le Mutant 171
Cora/Record 59 Monoprix 287 Norma 135
(*) Classification was made by outlet name concepts and not surface area.
Source: Lineaires/Panorama Trade Dimensions 2012
3. Number of Drive-Thru Service, CY 2011
Outlet Name Number
E. Leclerc 169
Auchan Drive 63
Chronodrive (Auchan) 46
Source: Lineaires/Panorama Trade Dimensions 2012
1. Major Food Retail Outlet Profiles
The French group Carrefour is the world’s second largest retailer, after Wal-Mart, and the largest in
Europe. Created in 1959 in southeast France, Carrefour grew rapidly into international markets with
stores in 30 countries (Europe, Asia, South America, and North Africa). Carrefour sales in France in
2011 were 35.2 billion euro ($48.9 billion). Carrefour has store formats such as supermarkets,
convenience, and city center stores, all under the name of Carrefour (Carrefour Market, Carrefour
Express, Carrefour City ) depending on their location, rural or downtown, their sales area. In 2011,
Carrefour released its hard discount DIA which became independent, although it still benefit from
Carrefour’s central buying office.
Although 80 percent of Carrefour private labels are locally sourced, the outlet is looking for new,
innovative American oriented food products. Carrefour does not import directly. It works strictly
through importers. FAS Paris can provide you with a list of French importers/distributors working with
E. Leclerc is second largest retailer in France, with sales totaling 37.8 billion euro ($52.5 billion) in
2011. Leclerc is a group of independents. Most of the outlets are hypermarkets covering over 30
percent of the total number of hypermarkets and representing 74 percent of the total sales of the outlet.
Leclerc’s focus on low prices and development of specialized sales concepts, such as parapharmacy,
cultural space, mobile phone, and a travel agenc makes this outlet attractive to the customers. The
drive-thru service is expected to increase to forecast 304 by the end of 2012. Leclerc is present in
Europe and sources food products thru its central buying office.
Leclerc’s clients at are diverse. They range from students to retiree as well as households with children.
Intermarche, Les Mousquetaires:
Intermarche, Les Mousquetaires chain is focused on low prices, proximity, and smaller scale stores.
Intermarche is a group of independents with stores in Europe and the following foreign countries:
Canada, South Africa, Switzerland, Australia, and China. Intermarche is the third largest group in
sales. Total sales in 2011 were 27.9 billion euro ($38.7 billion), from which 75 percent were food
products. Most of Intermarche’s outlets are supermarkets, a few city center stores, and 85 hypermarkets
(4 percent of total French hypermarkets). Intermarche has hard discounters (Netto) and a cafeteria.
Half of Intermarche’s food products are private labels, and 70 percent are either French or European
origin – there are very few foreign suppliers, although they are opened to expanding to international
foods. Intermarche imports from their central buying office, but may occasionally buy direct from the
supplier. FAS Paris can provide you with a list of Intermarche buyers.
Customers who shop at Intermarche are diversified. The group has recognized that seniors are regular
customers looking for good quality foods thru private labels, at a 25 percent cost less than branded
Group Auchan is a family company owned by the Mulliez family and the Schiever Group. Auchan
follows a progressive and controlled international growth policy and concentrates its investments on
priority development areas in most of Europe and Asia. Auchan is present in 12 countries. Total sales
in 2011 were 19.9 billion euro ($27.6 billion). Auchan has hyper, supermarkets, as well as a few
convenience and gourmet stores under the names of EasyMarche, Galeries Gourmandes, Partisans du
Gout, A 2 pas, and Coeur de nature. Auchan also offers real estate (Immochan) and banking financial
products and services (Banque Accord). Private labels represented 25 percent of total food sales in
2011. Auchan is always looking for extending its line of private label products, especially in the areas
of beverages, coffee, fish, fruit juices, biscuits, and snack foods. Auchan group imports direct and is
opened to market promotions. If U.S. suppliers are interested, FAS Paris can provide a list of buyers.
Clients at Auchan are diverse. Although the group carries the same brands all over its stores, they also
adapt to the region where the stores are located to offer local/regional or ethnic products. In Paris area
and southern France, Auchan offers Halal foods.
Systeme U is the sixth largest retailer in France in terms of sales and the fifth largest retailer in terms of
stores. In 2011, Systeme-U total sales in their hyper/supermarkets and convenience store were valued at
21.1 billion euro ($29.3 billion). U brand private label expansion is a priority for the group with the
sourcing of new products such as wine, fruit juices, frozen ready-to-eat foods, ethnic foods, and
seafood. Systeme-U is a good client for Alaska seafood. Systeme-U imports directly from the seller,
especially for private labels. For a list of Systeme-U’s buyers, please contact FAS/Paris.
Systeme-U clients are diverse. Systeme-U outlets are considered as proximity stores and the group is
looking at expanding its drive-thru service to increase its clientele.
In 2011, Casino total sales were 18.7 billion euro ($26.0 billion). Casino is present in France and
foreign countries with hyper/supermarkets and proximity/convenience stores: Franprix, Petit Casino,
Casino Shopping, Casino Shop, Vival, Spar, Chez Jean, Casitalia, Via Italia, and Eco Services.
Casino’s hard discounter Leader Price represents 17 percent of the total French hard discounters.
Casino Group source food products thru their buying office and they are looking for innovative food
products not sold by competitors, innovative in terms of packaging, functional foods, as well as food
products for their private label. U.S. suppliers interested by selling to Casino may contact FAS/Paris for
list of central buying office contacts.
Cora is part of the Belgium group LouisDelhaize and has hypermarket/supermarket stores in France and
Europe. Cora which was until 1974 part of the Carrefour Group has hypermarkets and supermarkets
(Cora, Match, and Record) located in French regions. Cora’s sales in 2011 amounted to 6.1 billion
Euros ($8.5 billion). Cora buys products through Provera their Central Buying Office which sources
food products from importers.
Note: Generally, for all retail food outlets, clients profiles vary according to the type of outlet (hyper,
supermarket or convenience store), its location (large/small cities), and the region in France where the
outlet is located.
B. CONVENIENCE STORES, GAS MARTS
1. Convenience Stores
Convenience stores fall under the category of small supermarkets (superettes), are generally located in
small cities, and frequently opened every day (including Sunday). In 2011, there were approximately
18,000 outlets and this number is expected to rise in coming years with more new concept stores.
Convenience stores are often affiliated with large retailers. The main operators in this segment are:
Major Convenience Stores by Sales CY 2011
Retailer Name & Market Ownership Sales Number Locations Purchasing
Type Million of Outlets Agent Type
Francap French 1458 France : Importers
(Small supermarkets/proximity (including Small cities
city stores): tax – mainly outside
Coccinelle Estimate) Paris and area
Carrefour: French All over France Importers
Groupe Provencia Southeast
1,221 35 Buying Office
Grands Magasins Southeast Buying Office
Labruyere 562 5
Carcoop Western France
6 Central Buying
French Overseas office
Groupe Bernard Territories &
Hayot 597 departments
5,480 439 France Importers
1,239 46 French overseas Central buying
Sherpa French Alps & Local producers
100 104 Pyrenees & importers
Groupe Caille French Overseas
394 25 Department (La
French overseas Central buying
territories & office
Hayo t 139 15
French overseas Central buying
Ho Hio Hen
Coop Atlantique 1,260 281 Western France Central Buying
South France Central buying
Le Mistral 253 271 office
West and office
Coop de Normandie- 1,226 244 southwest France
Source: Lineaires/Panorama Trade Dimension 2012
Independent small supermarkets, proximity/city stores of the group (Coccinelle, Colruyt, CocciMarket,
G20, Viveco, Diagonal, Sitis, Panier Sympa, Votre Marche, and Rapid’Market) are managed by
Francap Distribution. Francap not only operates these outlets but also acts as an advisor as to food
purchases (mainly private labels) and negotiations with food suppliers. Francap may be interested in
non-genetically engineered foods and beverages, grocery items, and frozen foods. Francap buys only
through importers. Please contact FAS/Paris for Provera and Francap contacts.
Groups affiliated with Carrefour:
This group operates 35 Carrefour small supermarket outlets: 4 Carrefour, and 31 Carrefour Market
mainly located in Southeast France (region Rhone-Alpes). Product sourcing for Provencia is through a
central buying office, which works with importers.
Grands Magasins Labruyere:
This group operates 5 Carrefour small supermarket outlets: 4 Carrefour and 1 Carrefour Market located
in southeast France (region Rhone-Alpes). Product sourcing for Grands Magasins Labruyere is through
a central buying office, which works with importers.
This group operates 6 small supermarkets Carrefour located between the Loire and the Garonne
(western France). Product sourcing for Carcoop is through a central buying office which works with
Groupe Bernard Hayot:
This group operates 8 small supermarkets Carrefour located in French overseas territories and
departments. Product sourcing for Groupe Bernard Hayot is through a central buying office which
works with importers.
Groups Affiliated with Casino:
This group operates city stores throughout France under the following names: Monoprix; Inno;
Monop”; Daily Monop: Monop’ Station; Monop’ Store; Beauty Monop and Natturalia. Monoprix is
looking to enhance its image, it offers organic, fair trade or sustainable food products. Monoprix offers
a range of quality and innovative food products priced generally higher than its competitors. Monoprix
is opened to U.S. products and looking for innovative GE free products. The group works only with
importers. FAS/Paris can supply with Monoprix buyers’ contacts to U.S. suppliers upon request.
This group operates stores in French overseas territories under the following names: Jumbo,
Score/Jumbo, Spar, and Cash. Vindemia sources its products through a central buying office which
works with importers.
This group operates mainly in the Alps and Pyrenees regions (southeast and south France) with 104
small supermarkets under the name, Sherpa. Sherpa sources its products through local producers and
In addition to 2 hypermarkets and 20 hard discounters, the group operates stores in French overseas
departments, mainly La Reunion, with 3 Cash Oi small supermarkets plus 2 Geant Casino and 20
Leader Price. The group sources food products through a central buying office.
Groupe Bernard Hayot:
In addition to one hypermarket and 7 hard discounters, the group operates 4 small supermarkets Casino
and 3 Vival proximity/city center stores in French overseas territories. The group works with a central
buying office and importers to source food products.
Ho Hio Hen:
In addition to 4 hypermarkets, and 59 hard discounters, the group operates 7 small supermarkets under
the names of Casino, and Super H, mainly in French overseas departments.
Groups affiliated with Systeme-U:
This group operates small supermarkets and city center stores under the names of Super U, U Express,
Ecofrais, ED, “1000 Frais” and Coop in western France. Product sourcing are through central buying
offices working with importers.
The group operates small supermarkets under the names of U Express and Utile mainly in south
France. It sources its products through a central buying office.
Coop de Normandie-Picardie:
The group operates small supermarkets under the name of Super U, U Express LM, Point Coop, and C
Express in western France (Normandy) and the southwest. They source food products through their
central buying office and carries 75 percent of food products under their private label.
2. Gas Station-Marts
Gasoline companies, having lost about 60 percent of their gas sales to stations found at hypermarkets,
have equipped their gas stations with small, self-service food stores (8 a 8 for BP and Carrefour for
Total). There are approximately 430 stores throughout France. These outlets are frequently used for
stop-gap purchases and accounted for about 1 percent of French food sales in 2011.
C. TRADITIONAL OUTLETS (NEIGHBORHOOD, SPECIALIZED FOOD STORES, OPEN
AIR MARKETS AND INTERNET SALES )
1. Neighborhood Stores
Neighborhood Stores are smaller and independent stores. These outlets have slightly increased since
2002. Most of them are specialized food outlets (bakeries, butchers and fish shops, groceries), they are
located both in urban and rural areas. While neighborhood stores in rural areas tend to decrease, these
outlets totaled 78,000 stores in 2011, as per the French National Economic Statistics (INSEE). Their
sales represent about 20 percent of the French food sales and their products are sourced from
wholesalers and wholesale markets. Customers of neighborhood stores are generally medium to high
Traditional grocers include gourmet stores, such as Fauchon, Hediard, La Grande Epicerie, Galerie
Gourmande, which carry a wide range of imported products. They are located in large and medium-
sized cities and attract high-income consumers. There are approximately 200 outlets in France, which
offer U.S. exporters easier market entry for their products. The drawback is they have a tendency to
purchase smaller quantities, and they work directly with importers.
3. Specialized Food Stores
A network of 125 stores of no more than 950 sq.m., and mainly located in southern France with a few
stores in the Paris area. Created in the 1980’s to offer consumers quality at moderate prices for fruits
and vegetables, fish, world food grocery, butcher-delicatessen and dairy products, Grand Frais’ total
sales in 2011 were $1,042 million. Grand Frais works directly with importers.
Picard Surgeles & other frozen food stores
Despite strong competition in the frozen food sector from hyper/supermarkets, Picard surgeles is the
leading frozen food retailer in France for home consumption, with a 21 percent market share, 878
outlets, and sales in 2011 were valued at $1.7 billion. Picard sells high-end frozen products and offers
opportunities for U.S. suppliers of fish and seafood, frozen fruits and vegetables, fruit juices, and
prepared specialty meals for private label. Picard works directly with importers and U.S. suppliers
interested should contact FAS/Paris for buyers’ names.
Toupargel is the second largest frozen food retailer in France, after Picard, and the leader for frozen
food home deliveries, before Thiriet, Maximo, and Argel. In 2011, Toupargel sales were $471 million.
Toupargel offers opportunities primarily for U.S. suppliers of fish and seafood. Toupargel has an
Internet website, Place du Marche, for consumers to place orders.
Biocoop is a network of specialized organic, fair trade, and ecological products including food and non-
food products. Biocoop has 328 stores throughout France and total sales in 2011 amounted to $694
million. Biocoop sources its products through different buying offices.
Open Air Markets
Originally in France open air markets were for the sale of local garden productions for fresh fruits and
vegetables, as well as other products locally produced such as meat, poultry and dairy, and at lower
costs since there were no packaging , transportation and middlemen. Nowadays, these local producers
still exist on open air markets, but large producers and store holders (butchers, poultry and cheese
stores) also joined the traditional local producers, especially in larger cities. However, the open air
markets offer different products depending of their geographic location. No detailed statistics are
available for this small market segment.
Internet Sales of Food Products and Beverages
Globally e-commerce is progressing (30 percent yearly), however, internet food and beverage sales
represent about one percent of the total food and beverage household purchases, for a value under one
billion dollar. The E-commerce for foods is an easy way for women with children, or handicapped
people to order heavy products, but customers often contest the lack of innovation in products and
services as well as higher prices.
SECTION III. COMPETITION
Most exporters within the EU conduct market promotion activities in France. Products such as fresh or
preserved fruits and vegetables, wine, beer, fish and meat are commonly promoted in trade shows,
advertisements and supermarkets. Third countries promoting food products in France include Norway,
Israel, Morocco, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, and Canada.
Retail Food Sector: Overall Competitive Situation Facing U.S. Suppliers, CY 2011
Product Major Supply Sources & percentage Strengths of Key Supply Advantages and
Category of total French imports in volume Countries Disadvantages of Local
A & B: Spain & Italy are EU Locally, there are very
Fruit and A. Spain (41%) countries and price competitive marginal local
nuts, as well as geographically production for nuts and
including B. Italy (8%) close. Italy mainly supplies citrus and none for
tropical fruit grapes, while Spain has a tropical fruits.
and citrus C. Cameroon (5%) wider range of fruits to offer
including citrus. South Africa France is only a
Net imports: USA and Israel also supply citrus to – Minor supplier (1.6% share) producer of walnuts and
49,524 tons France – mainly for national
$ 195.4 C: Cameroon is a supplier of
million fruits and bananas and has a lot Nuts imported from the
of French subsidiary USA represent 2 percent
companies. of total nut imports.
However, Morocco, Ivory France is an attractive
Coast and South Africa are market for the USA but
also France’s key suppliers, the competition is
and have a market share close tough.
Fish and A. Norway (13 %) A & B. Norway dominates the Local resources in fish
Seafood market with 111,097 tons and seafood do not
A. United Kingdom imported, the U.K. is also a satisfy increasing
(10%) strong supplier to France, demand.
Net imports: mainly for the food service
52,294 tons A. market. China (8%) USA is a major supplier
to France, especially for
$ 300.2 USA – Major supplier (6% share) C. France imports from China salmon and tuna.
million panga fish sold in frozen fillet
at Carrefour or Picard. Other
fish imports are from Spain
Canned and A. Germany (18%) A, B & C. Germany, Spain Local companies are
prepared and Belgium are price strong in prepared meat
meat and fish A. Spain (13%) competitive, geographically and fish although their
close and part of the European number declined over
Net imports: A. Union. years. They also are Belgium (7%)
590 tons affected by rising
$ 11.9 USA – Minor supplier (0.2% share)
Preparations A. Belgium (17%) A. Belgium dominates There are approximately
of fruits, the market with 1,100 local companies
vegetables, A. Spain (13%) preparation of in the sector of canned
nuts, vegetables other than fruits and vegetables,
including A. including a few major Germany (12%) tomatoes (Italy and
jams, fruit Spain) groups and regional
purees and USA canners. – Minor supplier (2% share)
fruit juices. B & C. Spain supplies France
with prepared fruits, fruit France is not a producer
Ne t imports: juices, and nuts; and Germany of fruit juices except for
17,771 tons with mushrooms, as well as a few home-made
fruit juices. products.
Fruit juices are also imported Fruit juices are an
by Spain and Brazil, the attractive market to U.S.
United States represent a 2% suppliers, although
market share. competition is tough.
USA market share for nuts
imports is close to 2%.
Prepared A. Germany (20%) Spain, Belgium and Germany Demand for interesting
foods dominate the market with natural or exotic flavors
including A. Belgium (14%) sauces/condiments/seasonings as well as health and
sauces, and mustards. wellness products
condiments, A. should provide Italy (11%)
seasonings, Italy supplies soups, and ice opportunities for U.S.
m ustards A. creams. suppliers of sauces/ Spain (11%)
and ice condiments/seasonings,
creams USA Most of the imports from the provided they are able – Minor supplier (1.3% share)
U.S. are sauces, condiments to compete with A, B, &
and dressings. D.
Snacks A. Germany (32%) A, B: Dominates the market A few local companies
(potato and with branded products. and some multinational
cereal based) A. United Kingdom (17%) firms operate in the
C. Offers exotic flavors. market.
Net import: A. Demand is for new Spain (13%)
39 tons exotic flavors (olive oil,
USA chili), healthier content – Minor supplier
$217,022 or a combination of
Popcorn is still on the
rise, and the U.S. may
offer a variety of new
innovative products in
Beverages, A. U.K. (24%) A, C dominate the market with France is the world’s
including B. Italy (10%) branded spirits. largest wine producer.
wines, spirits C. Germany (8%)
and alcohols B: supplies wine to France. A market exists for third
USA – Medium supplier (5% share) country wines, which
Net import: have recorded increases
343 MHL during the past years.
The United States. is a
$197.9 net supplier of
million California wines and its
market share has
increased over years.
Pulses A. China (29%) China dominates the market France production of
B. USA (11%) with all varieties of pulses. pulses represents 25%
Net import: C. Canada (10%) of total needs.
9,544 tons USA supplies mainly beans
USA is a major supplier (11% share) and lentils, so does Canada. The United States is a
$12.4 million major, supplier in the
market but has to
compete with China in
this segment who offers
better prices, although
quality is lower.
Cereals A. Germany (29%) A dominates the market with Very small rice
B. Italy (12%) corn production in southern
Net import: C. Spain (11%) France.
101,389 tons B & C. dominates with rice
USA – major supplier (6% share) Corn is second largest
$43.3 million USA is 4th largest supplier for grain production in
corn and 16 for rice. France, after wheat, and
represents 10% of the
U.S. corn supplies are
limited in France due to
Source: Global Trade Atlas /French Customs
SECTION IV. BEST PRODUCT PROSPECTS
Large U.S. and other multinational food companies are well established here and their products are
adapted to the French market. U.S. exporters will find existing and new market opportunities for high
valued products provided they offer good quality, attractive packaging products which remain price
A. Products Identified as Opportunities for U.S. Suppliers
Product Category Estimated Average Key constraints over Market Attractiveness for
Sales value Annual Market Development USA
un 2011 and Growth
in billion $) Rate
Fish and Seafood 7.0 N/A Competition from other Health benefits and quality
suppliers of US products offer
opportunities for US
Citrus fruits and nuts N/A N/A Competition from key US products are considered
established suppliers as quality and safety
Coffee, tea and spices 2.1 +8% Lack of awareness for The market remains a niche
US products for US suppliers
Canned fruits and 8.8 +12%
Canned fruits, 1.8 +7.2 High tariff on sugar Niche market
jams, marmalades content
Other food products: 32.9 +13.2%
Sauces, 2.8 +3% Competition from key U.S. suppliers to provide
condiments, & established new exotic and natural
seasonings multinational suppliers. flavors and attractive
Products to be GMOs packaging.
Salted and sweet 1.8 +5% High tariff and Demand for new flavors
snacks competition from large and healthy content.
multinational. Consider U.S. products to
be sold for private labels.
Niche opportunities for
High tariff, adapt to sugar-free, low carb and
Sugar, chocolate, 6.1 +2%
and European and French functional value-added confectionery
regulations. Also, products.
competition with key
Beverages: 24.0 +3.2%
Quality wines 12.1 +4% Competition from third Demand for quality wines
country wine producers, should boost U.S. sales
and high tariffs. with market driven
approach to business.
Competition from U.S. suppliers offer high
quality juices and
Fruit juices 3.1 +3% Large groups.
concentrates – Health
benefits are appreciated
from customers and should
benefit US products.
US suppliers should offer
High sugar-free and low-calorie tariffs & fierce
competi carbonates. Attractive tion from
Carbonated 2.2 +4.3% packaging is a plus to these
d multinationals. rinks drinks directed to young
Bakery & biscuits 7.0 +1 High tariffs due to sugar Attractive to U.S. suppliers
content & competition with high quality products,
from local artisanal mainly for sale in gourmet
Frozen foods 10.0 +3.7% Competition from key Vegetables and potato
established suppliers products offer opportunities
and multinational as well as prepared meals,
groups. desserts and soups.
Avoid meat products
which require EU
Canned and prepared meat 52.7 +6.3% EU certification US suppliers with required
and fish required for meat and certification for their
fish products product and offering
innovative products can
find a niche.
Pulses 1.8 -1% Competition from key U.S. suppliers carry high
established suppliers. quality products and should
continue valorizing the
nutritional aspect of their
N/A = Not Available
Source: INSEE – Food Industries Production
B. Products not Present in Significant Quantities, but that Have Good Sales Potential
Product Estimated Average Key constraints over Market Attractiveness for USA
Category sales value in Annual Market Development
2011 in billion Growth
Tropical fruits N/A N/A Competition with French French consumers are open to
overseas department and different flavors. U.S. suppliers
territories producers (banana may find a niche to offer tropical
and pineapple) fruits and sale to specialized
High transportation costs gourmet stores.
Specialty N/A N/A Competition from key High demand for quality
seafood, suppliers. products. Opportunities for U.S.
lobsters, scallops suppliers able to compete with
Sweet potatoes N/A N/A The knowledge of this This market is likely to become
products is increasing. more dynamic as consumers gain
Opportunities will exist for
development by U.S. sweet
potato suppliers and relevant
Baby foods 0.1 -1.2% Competition from mainly Lack of time for preparation of
two major groups. meals, increase the demand.
This market is attractive to U.S.
suppliers with high
quality/innovative foods and EU
certification for meat products.
Dietary products 2.1 +11% Strict EU and French This is a fast growing and
including regulations apply to these lucrative market attractive for the
nutraceuticals products. numerous US suppliers.
Energy drinks 0.2 +10% Fierce competition from 3 Fast growing market attractive to
giants of the soft drink US suppliers carrying good taste
market and Red Bull, and and innovative products provided
strict ingredient regulations they are ready to compete with
apply to these products. the sector leaders..
Soups 0.7 -2% Competition from local Return to tradition and
manufacturers. innovative quality products may
attract U.S. suppliers.
Pet foods 2.1 +6.5% Competition from Growing number of pets
multinational groups. Pet stimulates demand for
plants require certification. conventional and organic pet
Organic foods 4.7 +3.5% Strict EU regulations on Increasing health-concern and
production and countries various food crisis boosted this
equivalency apply for market segment. Attractiveness
imported products from third for US organic food suppliers
countries. Note that the US with innovative products.
has an equivalence
arrangement with the EU.
Certain varieties N/A N/A Retail market for certain nut This market is likely to become
of nuts (Cajun, varieties is still a niche. The more dynamic as consumers gain
pecan, product is not mainstream product awareness and receptive
macadamia) and is mainly consumed as to new taste and texture.
snack mix for aperitif and
for special occasions
Prepared ready- 6.4 N/A Competition from key Demand for new flavors and
to-eat ethnic established suppliers. EU ethnic pre-prepared foods
foods and meals plant certification for meals provide opportunities for US
containing meat. suppliers able to compete with
Kosher foods 9.1 +15% Competition from local Religious and health concerns
wholesalers and key boost sales of kosher products
suppliers. Products to be beyond the community offering
certified Kosher by religious opportunities for US suppliers.
Halal foods 7.6 +10% Competition from A large Muslim population in
multinational groups and France generates a 10 % annual
key suppliers. Products to increase in Halal foods offering
be certified Halal by opportunities for US suppliers.
Ice creams 1.5 (home +5.5% Competition from large US suppliers with high quality
consumption groups. EU regulations and innovative products may find a
only) certification niche in this market.
N/A = Not Available
Source: INSEE/LSA Magazine
C. Products not Present Because They Face Significant Trade Barriers
Meat and Poultry products
For more information on product trade restrictions within the European Union, please refer to US/EU
Mission Food and Agricultural Import Regulation and Standards Report (FAIRS) available at:
SECTION V. POST CONTACT AND FURTHER INFORMATION
Internet Home Pages
Internet home pages of potential interest to U.S. food and beverage exporters are listed below:
USDA/ Foreign Agriculture Service http://www.fas.usda.gov
U.S. Mission to the European Union http://useu.usmission.gov/agri/usda/html
European Importer Directory http://www.american-foods.org
Web site for Professional Trade Shows
and Events http://www.salons-online.com
Questions/Comments and Assistance
If you have any questions or comments regarding this report, need assistance exporting to France or
desire French buyers contact lists, please get in touch with the U.S. Agricultural Affairs Office in Paris
Foreign Agricultural Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Embassy of the United States of America
2, avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08, France
Phone : (33-1) 43 12 2245
Fax : (331) 43 12 2662
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Home page : http://www.usda-France.fr
Please view our Home Page for more information on exporting U.S. food and beverage and find
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