The French consume more and more organic, but beware of the shortage

In ten years, products from organic farming have become almost essential in the eyes of French consumers, according to the Agence Bio / CSA barometer. A success which reveals a change in mentalities, but which could have harmful consequences for a flourishing industry.

“Green” France is on the move. With almost half a billion euros spent compared to the same period in 2016, the appetite of French people for organic products was clearly confirmed in the first half of 2017, according to figures from Agence Bio , the national information and action platform for French organic farming.

A flourishing market which owes its success in part thanks to the new French “organic” producers, but also to the ever-increasing number of processors and distributors – nearly 51,500 farms and companies engaged in “organic” as of June 30, 2017, i.e. 4,340 more operators per compared to last year.

In 2016, the French “organic” industry – also including out-of-home catering – would have already exceeded 7 billion euros in value. Sales of fresh produce, which increased by 14% in the first six months of the year according to the Agence Bio / CSA barometer, were helped by growth. The good results of the “organic” departments in large food stores, which recorded an 18% increase in their turnover over the period, thus bring positive results and reveal a change of mentality in the French population.
82% of French people consider it important to develop “organic” agriculture

Because today, “organic” products are everywhere and concern almost everyone. According to Agence Bio, nearly 9 out of 10 French people declare having consumed “organic” at least once in 2016, and 69% also state that they regularly consume “organic” (at least once per less). And the difference recorded in 2003 during the first edition of the barometer shows a real change in mentalities: 46% of French people never consumed organic products.

Ten years ago, 67% of the French population attached importance to the preservation of the environment in their purchasing acts, compared to 89% in 2015 and now 92% in 2017. Today, they are also 82% attach importance to the development of organic farming. Figures that highlight the new expectations of the French for future farming, based on respect for the environment and animal welfare, even if organic is far from being a guarantee in this area, as recently emphasized Release in an article on animal suffering in the organic meat sector.

Solutions to protect yourself from shortages and price increases

The barometer of Agence Bio even appears that since July 20, the States General of Food have been launched by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. Their main objective is to promote the creation and distribution of “organic” players in France, but also to make “healthy, safe and sustainable” food accessible to all. Because the success of “organic” in France has important consequences: on certain products, such as meat, eggs, wine and milk, stock outs are regular and shortages very close. And with the unfavorable weather conditions this year, dairy and vegetable productions suffered a slight imbalance.

Eager to encourage this movement by making “organic” “more accessible”, the Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition Nicolas Hulot sharply criticized the large margins of distributors a few days ago, after the publication of a UFC-Que study to choose. These practices would tend to drive up prices, as would the lack of supply and occasional stock-outs. Several avenues should be explored during the General Meeting on Food in order to remedy this imbalance, such as, for example, perpetuating financial aid for conversion, or even promoting private financing tools for organic farming, such as the Livret de Sustainable development. What further increase the percentage of “organic made in France”: 71% of organic products consumed in France are already produced on the national territory.

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