Organic food products in France saw historic growth in 2016, according to new information announced by Agence Bio, the French agency for the development and promotion of organic farming. The agency estimates that the organic market saw an increase of approximately 20% in the first semester of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, which was also a period that saw rapid growth. At the end of the year, the organic market should reach nearly 7 billion euros ($7.6 billion) in sales – an increase of more than 1 billion euros ($1 billion) in only one year.
Due to increasing interest, the organic industry has reached an historic number of consumers. According to a recent survey, 9 out of 10 French people regularly consume organic products at least on occasion, a significant increase from the 54% of French people who said the same thing in 2003. 65% say that they consume organic products on a regular basis, up from only 37% in 2003.
Supply is continuing to develop at a rapid pace to keep up with consumers’ voracious demands for new organic products that respect humans and nature. With such a great potential for economic gains, organic farmers are more and more numerous. More than 21 new organic farms were created each day in France during the first 6 months of 2016. On June 30, the number of French organic producers reached nearly 32,000. By the end of the year, Agence Bio estimated that the area devoted to organic agricultural production will exceed 1.5 million hectares (almost 4 million acres), approximately 6% of the agricultural surface of France.
Further down the line in the industry, businesses involved in agricultural processing and distribution are also more and more involved in organic food production activities. During the first half of 2016, 1,200 new operators joined the ranks of the organic food industry in France, currently numbering about 15,000 across the country. On June 30, 2016, France had more than 45,000 organic businesses.
In line with societal demands, France’s organic food agency is involving itself in a truly deep movement. In order to provide support and aid to producers in order to respond to the growing consumer and farmer interest in organic agriculture, actors across the organic industry are pursuing multiple actions. Notably, on November 14, a conference will be held on the subject of the organic food industry of tomorrow, with testimony, roundtables and meetings between investors and project leaders.