France is the largest European food producer and ranks fifth worldwide. It is also taking the train of organic farming, as one of the European leaders in production and consumption. This new trend is influencing every sector of farming, including French organic wine which is finding success with Nordic customers looking for more natural options.
Some of the largest industries and markets around organic food are in France
Organic food in France represented in 2018 almost 5% of the national food consumption, with a market estimated at almost 10 billion euros. This is the second largest in Europe, closely behind Germany. To answer the increasing demand, the food industry is adapting at a fast pace and in 2017, 14% of lands were already devoted to organic farming in the EU. The French organic output is remarkable by its diversity, as it encompasses dairy products, fresh fruit, and vegetables, meat, as well as eggs, oilseeds and protein crops. Three regions stand out for their massive involvement in organic farming: Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur has dedicated a quarter of its land to it, while both Occitanie and Corsica reach 15% of organic culture on their territories.
Key figures on the French organic industry
Taking advantage of the tradition and know-how of the French agricultural ecosystem, more than 60,000 farms are now involved in the production of organic products. This strength of the production also matches the growing demand in the Nordic countries, where for example 8 Swedes out of ten declared consuming regularly organic products in 2019.
Read more: Organic industry - Key info in 10 points
French organic wines meet the Nordic demand
The French organic wine has found a market in the Nordic countries. Its production is booming in France, as close to 12% of all wine production surface is devoted to organic farming in 2018, a 20% increase compared to 2017. In Sweden, 4.8 million liters of French organic wine were sold in 2018, 10% of all the organic wine sold by Systembolaget. These figures reflect the growing interest among Swedes for natural and organic products, which is shared with their other Nordic neighbors. For example, in the Finnish Alko stores, you could find 429 references of organic wines in 2016 against 943 in 2018, an increase of 120% in only three years!
Engagement for the future
The organic farming sector is also looking outward, with more than 700 million euros of exportation in 2018. If wines represent almost two-third of these exports, other products are ramping up their international presence, such as sweet and savory products which reached 60 million euros. Inversely, 80% of non-exotic organic food consumed in the country is produced locally. This number almost reached 100% for some categories, such as eggs and dairy products.
Finally, this organic farming boom has produced some success stories in the French start-up scene, such as Greenweez, the biggest e-commerce platform for organic products, or Agricool, which recycle old containers to grow local products in the heart of cities.