©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

The French organic agriculture industry moved into high speed in 2015, the organic food agency “Agence Bio” announced at the end of May.

Based largely on increasing demands from French consumers for organic products, the organic food industry saw significant increases across the board in total sales, land devoted to organic agriculture, and the number of organic agriculture producers, among other factors.

The largest percentage increase was in the amount of land set aside for organic production. 23% more French farmland was dedicated to organic agriculture in 2015 than in 2014, bringing the total to almost 3,400 acres nationwide.

Additionally, 200 organic farms were added to the national mix, a 9% increase from 2014 figures, bringing the total to more than 28,800 farms and employing about 10% of the total agricultural workforce (almost 70,000 jobs on farms).

©Xavier Remongin/Min.agri.fr

©Xavier Remongin/Min.agri.fr

The total number of people employed in jobs directly related to the organic agriculture industry (farmers, distributors, processors, researchers, consultants, etc.) reached more than 100,000 people in France in 2015.

Perhaps the most significant figure was the record number of organic agriculture sales, which reached 5.76 billion euros last year, going beyond the 5.5 billion euros in sales that was initially predicted by analysts. These record sales represent a 14.7% increase over the previous year, and organic purchases in the mass restaurant and catering industry saw a 9% increase in one year.

Consumer demands for increased availability of organic products has led to a rapid rise in the number of restaurants and food establishments offering organic food across France. Before 2006, only 4% of food establishments in the mass catering and restaurant industry offered organic food. Based on initial figures for 2016, almost 60% do today. Organic food is particularly present in school cafeterias, more than 75% of which offer some products to students.