FRANCE – The French food processing sector value has been increased by 5.6% in 2017 and is valued at US$191 billion with over 17,600 food processors from small-scale to some of the largest food companies in the world.

According to Global Agricultural Information Network, the progress in food technology, marketing innovations and exports of finished food products contribute to France’s increasing demand for food ingredients.

Exports in the food industry sector are ahead of other leading industrial sectors, which places France’s food industry among the top three in the European Union.

In 2017, France’s food trade surplus increased by US$283 million compared to previous year reaching US$954 million:

Raw agricultural product exports increased by US$176 million thanks to grains, and

processed food increased by US$107 million driven by sales of beverages and sugar-based products.

Since 2012 French processed food consumption doubled offering U.S. food processing ingredients an excellent export market, principally for meat, milk, bakery/pastry, fat and oils, and beverages.

The French Ministry of Agriculture reports there were a total of 17,647 food processing companies generating revenue of US$191 billion in 2017.

In 2017 the processed food product production decreased by 0.5% as compared to 2016, reaching its lowest level since 2013 although exports grew.

In 2017, sectors of the production offering most opportunities for U.S. products were grain, bakery and pastry industries, and the beverage industry.

In 2017, the total French exports of processed foods were valued at US$49 billion, an increase of 9% from 2016.

The continuing efforts to reduce costs result in increasing the number of the French food processors looking to imports to source and even process products.

French companies invest heavily in research and development.

In addition, French consumers’ quality, food safety, and health concerns have pushed the French food processing industry to look for new healthier products and increased their demand for organics.

Environment and sustainable development, sorting and recycling packaging waste, food waste, and energy efficiency are major aspects of the competitive French food industry.

The decrease of the French household purchasing power did not impact most of French consumer demand for quality, innovative, and healthy products.

Nevertheless, the lowest social classes are primarily driven by price.

Also, change in lifestyles and in demographics resulted in a strong growth of processed products’ consumption.