Agence BIO, the French public body responsible for developing and promoting organic farming, recently published its 10th annual report on the organic industry in France in 2014, and business is booming! This past year, France was the number one European producer of organic broilers, hens and oilseeds and number two for dairy and meat cows. France was also the number one processor of organic products within the European Union. At a press conference in Paris on February 18th, Director Elisabeth Mercier reported that sales are up from 2013, reaching 5 billion dollars. “Nine out of ten French citizens ate organic in 2014, six out of ten of whom did so regularly”, she stated. In terms of production, the number of organic farms rose by 4%, totaling 26,478 distinct production sites. Total farmland dedicated to organic agriculture also rose by 4%, surpassing 2.5 million acres, representing 4% of France’s total utilized agricultural land.
As illustrated in the graphic above, half of the utilized agricultural land in France is located in five of its 27 regions: Midi-Pyrénées, Pays de la Loire, Languedoc-Roussillon, Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.
Home consumption of organic foods is estimated at more than 2.5% of the food market, compared to 2.3% in 2012. Nevertheless, the level of commitment to organic farming varies from one sector to another. For example, one out of every three French breeders is organic, with the beekeeping and laying hen sectors ahead at more than 11% and 7% of total production in France, respectively.
Half of all the revenue from the organic industry can be found in the fresh food aisles of the grocery store, though sales are up across all food families. Organic wine has seen the most growth since 2010 (+56%), for example. As for sector-specific market value, organic sales comprise 15% of the egg market 11% for milk and 6% for the 14 most popular fruits and vegetables aside from bananas and citrus fruits.
In 2013, 82% of all organic sales took place at either major food retailers (supermarkets, grocery stores) or specialty organic stores, though all distribution circuits have risen in number (artisanal, markets). These data are not yet available for 2014, With regard to origin, three fourths of all organic products consumed in France were produced within the country. The remaining organic imports are split almost evenly between the EU and non EU countries. Finally, total organic exports for 2013 were valued at 381 million euros, up 72 million from 2012, 66% of which were wines.
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