It is beyond dispute that food is central to the French way of life. Since 2010 French gastronomy has officially been registered on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It seems then obvious that France is also constantly seeking innovation within the food and agriculture industry.
A food expertise and economy
54% of the French territory is used for agriculture. There are 457,000 farms employing more than 824,000 workers. This allows France to be the 1st producer of cereals in Europe and the world’s 6th largest exporter of agrifood products with a revenue of 167 bn€. These numbers show that the agriculture and food industry are essential to the French economy. This also means that France has an ideal profile for fostering innovation in this sector.
Read more : France, Food and Agriculture Factsheet
The rising French foodtech ecosystem
The foodtech is booming in France. In 2018, French foodtech start-ups raised 240M€. There are currently more than 500 active players in the French foodtech ecosystem. These start-ups are innovative in many different areas of the foodtech: agtech, foodservice, retail & delivery, coaching, media and foodscience. For example, Refarmers offers urban and vertical farming solutions to develop local farming. This start-up decided to expand its business and chose Sweden to do so in 2018.
Top French ag/food-tech startups - 2018 Funding
Fighting food waste
As food is so central to French culture it is only natural that we do not want to waste it. France is on the forefront of fighting against food waste. The government introduced some key measures to tackle this issue. Since 2017, supermarkets are ban from throwing away or destroying unsold food. Instead, they are encouraged to give the surplus to charities or foodbanks. France is the first country to have introduced such ban and has inspired others to follow their lead. These anti-food waste measures have enabled France to be ranked 1st on the food sustainability index of the BCFN Foundation. France is thus a particularly attractive destination for innovative Nordic start-ups of the sector such as Karma, who launched its services on Mars 2019 in Paris.