France: sales of organic products are rising sharply

The French redoubled their appetite for organic food products. According to figures published by the Bio Agency, sales of products from organic farming have experienced an unprecedented increase in 2015, jumping 14.7%, to reach a total of 5.75 billion euros. Even though organic food still accounts for only 3% of household food consumption, the time has come for acceleration.

Organic sales vary from one product to another. The highest increase is for eggs, where it reaches 20%, and for milk, at 12%. But the best growth drivers are fruits and vegetables (+ 24%) and groceries (+ 17%).

This consumer craze is good news for those who have banned pesticides and chemical fertilizers from their farms. But also for farmers strangled financially by low prices and high costs, which are more likely to consider a conversion to organic.

Strong increase in organic committed land

The areas engaged in organic grow strongly, from 23.1% in 2015 to 1 375 328 hectares, according to Agence Bio. Proof of the influx of applications, surfaces in the first year of conversion have tripled compared to 2014, to 226,328 hectares. All the sectors are concerned, even if the strongest dynamic is the fact of the cereals, hitherto in retreat.

This evolution could favor the part of organic “made in France”. It is up, at 76%. As for certified surfaces, they have exceeded the milestone of one million hectares. This type of agriculture is now spread over 5.12% of agricultural land.

The number of farms concerned increased by 9%, with 28,884 farms. They alone account for 10% of agricultural jobs in the territory. One in two sells all or part of its production directly on the farm. This explains the strong growth of 20% in direct sales of organic products, even if it represents only 14% of the total distribution.

Specialty retailers, which account for 37% of the market, also benefit from consumer enthusiasm and see their sales increase by 17%. Badge success like Biocoop shows this trend. Even if big brands lose some ground, they still remain the first distribution channel, selling 45% of organic products.

The Organic Agency also welcomes the good progress of bio in the catering sector, long a weak point of the device. Organic products still only represent an amount of 225 million euros, but the increase is 18%.

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