The organic food and drink market is booming in France. Major retailers in the country have been keen to exploit the growth opportunity: Carrefour opened its 6th dedicated organic store in Paris, Carrefour Bio, in March 2016, and opened a further outlet in Lyon in November 2016. Other retailers such as Leclerc and Auchan have been investing in this area too and across the retailing spectrum players have developed dedicated private label ranges. For example, Lidl launched a premium organic line in September 2016 called Si bon si Bio. The growth of more affordable private label organic lines in particular has allowed a wider range of the population into the market.

Mintel research shows that many French consumers are changing their shopping habits to incorporate buying more organic food and drink and many are prepared to pay more for it. In the first quarter of 2017, a quarter of French consumers agreed that they were buying more organic food and drink, a figure which does not vary hugely across demographics. There is even less variation in agreement on preparedness to pay more for organic food and drink, which has grown to 22% of consumers in Q1 2017.

Organic provides a growth opportunity for bakery

Half of French consumers agree it is worth paying more for organic bread/baked goods, significantly above the 39% of consumers that agree on the same point in Europe’s largest organic food and drink market, Germany. This is clearly a growth opportunity for the bakery market and a chance for producers to see progression beyond the 2% CAGR for bread/bread products and 2.6% CAGR for sweet bakery products over the next five years, according to Mintel.

Organic is already a well-established claim for new bakery products in France

Over the last five years, organic has been the top claim used on launches of bread/bread products in France, featuring on almost one in five launches, way ahead of the European average. More significantly, the organic claim is also extensively used on sweet bakery products in France, having appeared on over one in 10 launches over the last five years. This poses a challenge around differentiation for new entrants or those wishing to expand their presence, as an organic positioning alone may not be enough to stand out from the crowd. In 2016, retailer Monoprix even announced that all its baguettes would now be organic suggesting that it is becoming an industry standard.

Other players are increasingly tying organic with free-from and other health-focused messages. In the year to May 2017, 29% of organic bread/bread product and sweet bakery launches in France also had a wholegrain claim, while 20% had a gluten-free claim. The confluence of these claims is a space where consumer appeal can potentially be maximised.

Chris Brockman is Research Manager, Food and Drink, EMEA region at Mintel. During a near 20-year research career, Chris has worked with many of the leading global food and drink producers and retailers. Prior to Mintel, Chris led a team undertaking research on food ingredient sectors and tracking global innovation trends. He also led a research team at an export market consultancy for the food and drink sector.

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