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Opportunities for fresh produce exports to France

Fresh fruits and vegetables – particularly tropical and exotic – are among the best high value prospects for American companies looking to export to France, according to a report by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Fresh fruits and vegetables – particularly tropical and exotic – are among the best high value prospects for American companies looking to export to France, according to a report by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Titled the France Exporter Guide, the report says prime opportunities for U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers are in off-season and extended season sales, as well as during years of short French fruit crops.

“France is the leading European market for U.S. grapefruit and number three in the world after Japan and Canada with 17.5 tons imported in calendar year 2013, valued at $20 million. The U.S. market share for citrus fruits represents 21 percent of total French imports in volume and 25 percent in value. The US was France’s first supplier in volume and value for grapefruit for the first time in 2014, followed by South Africa, Israel and Spain,” it says.

During short-crop years, France imports apples and pears from the US. There is also a niche market for berries, medjool dates, dried prunes, frozen fruits and nuts, fresh cherries, cashew nuts, apples, and other fresh citrus.

“Imports of fresh and dried cranberries from the US have been very successful during the last fifteen years and were valued at more than $1 million in 2014. Transshipments from other EU member states (who do not produce cranberries) were valued at more than $2.2 million the same year.”

Root vegetables among few opportunities for US fresh vegetables

Very few opportunities exist for US fresh vegetables, the report says. “Trends and increased consumption indicate a growing demand for dried and prepared vegetables (washed and cut) and many supermarkets have a special section for these types of products.”

However it advises there may also be demand for organic vegetables, “as the new US/EU organic agreement should open doors for U.S. suppliers.”

And import statistics show US exports of fresh and chilled edible root vegetables to France have increased since 2011. “These exports were valued at $2.4 million versus $626,000 in 2010. FAS Paris initiated contact with French buyers and the American Sweet Potatoes Commission actively promotes this product among the food service industry.”

Move from frozen to fresh prepared foods in food service

The report provides a guide to France’s economic situation and market structure, as well as exporter tips. On the subject of food trends in France it says French consumers desire innovative and more convenient foods offering a quality image, better taste, and increased health benefits

It also mentions that the French food service industry is moving towards fresh consumer-ready products at the expense of frozen foods.

Under this category, dried nuts are the majority of U.S. exports, the report says.


source: France Exporter Guide, GAIN report FR9175
image of the Eiffel tower as seen from the Champ de Mars: by Edisonblus (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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Carrefour open its first City store in a French airport

Carrefour’s first City convenience store located in a French airport is based in the departures lounge of Paris-Orly’s south terminal. Open 6am–10pm, 7 days a week, it stocks nearly 3,000 items.

Carrefour has opened its first City convenience store located in a French airport.

Based in the departures lounge of Paris-Orly’s south terminal, the new outlet has 200 m² of sales area and stocks nearly 3,000 items.

In a press release, Carrefour Group said the store – open 6am–10pm, 7 days a week – features:

  • a wide selection of organic products, as well as hot and cold snacks and gluten-free products
  • Carrefour brand products – including a special area for Reflets de France regional products – as well as national brand products
  • on-site bread slicing
  • the same prices as those found in town centre City stores

Carrefour said the Orly City store features a wide selection of products to meet customers’ day-to-day shopping needs, as well as what they need to eat on-the-go: grocery products, fruit and vegetables, home maintenance products, ready-to-cook/eat products, snacks, etc. It said the store will also contribute to the airport’s business dynamic and help local employment – 6 employees will be recruited from neighbouring towns.

“By entering into this new partnership and including a leading name that has become synonymous with retail in France, Aéroports de Paris is seeking to provide travellers and visitors – as well as the airport’s employees and partners – with as broad a range of stores as possible. We want to ensure that our airports are accessible to all of our customers,” said Aéroports de Paris CEO Augustin de Romanet.

According to Carrefour CEO Georges Plassat: “This initiative that we have launched with Aéroports de Paris is a shining example of Carrefour’s unique multi-format profile. In many countries, we anticipate our customers’ needs, creating stores that are specifically designed to meet their requirements, selling products and providing services designed to make their lives easier.”


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The world’s best in 6 key fresh produce areas, as ranked by France

A recent report by the French ministry for agriculture, FranceAgriMer, assesses export competitivesness in key markets for the six key produce categories of cauliflower, tomatoes, salad, strawberries, peaches and nectarines, and apples

Which countries are the most competitive in the export of six key fruit and vegetable products is assessed in a recent report by the French ministry for agriculture, FranceAgriMer.

Cauliflower and broccoli, tomatoes, salad, strawberries, peaches and nectarines, and apples are the categories analysed in the annually updated publication, which assesses key components such as production potential, soil, climate and macroeconomic context. It monitors the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s various fruit and vegetables sectors.

Published last month and drawing on comprehensive fruit and vegetable data from 2013, the 2014 edition rankings are:

Cauliflower & broccoli

1 France
2 Italy
3 UK
4 Germany
5 Spain
6 Belgium  
7 Poland


1 Belgium
2 Netherlands
3 France
4 Germany
5 Italy
6 Spain


1 Netherlands
2 Spain
3 France, Belgium (TIE)
5 Germany
6 Poland
7 Turkey
8 Morocco
9 Italy


1 Spain
2 Poland
3 Belgium
4 France
5 Italy
6 Germany
7 Morocco
8 Netherlands

Peach & nectarine

1 Spain
2 Italy
3 France
4 Greece
5 Turkey


1 New Zealand
2 Italy
3 Chile
4 Belgium
5 South Africa
6 US
7 France
8 Netherlands
9 Poland
10 Germany
11 China
12 Turkey

To find out more about these rankings read the report (in French) here.

Source: FranceAgriMer

Book 2014 Études économiques fruits, légumes et pommes de terre réalisées et/ou financées par FranceAgriMer

Veille Concurrentielle Internationale Fruits et Légumes Pilotée et financée par FranceAgriMer Réalisée par Agrex Consulting

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Carrefour reports first quarter sales growth of 3.2%

France’s Carrefour has reported organic sales growth of 3.2% for the first quarter of 2015 with total sales of €21 billion.

France’s Carrefour has reported organic sales growth of 3.2% for the first quarter of 2015 with total sales of €21 billion.

Also compared to the first quarter of 2014, the hypermarket group’s organic sales (ex calendar and ex petrol) in France were up 2.6% to €9.5 billion, while its international sales grew at a slightly higher rate, 3.6%, to €11.5 billion.

Convenience and other formats confirmed their momentum with organic growth of 6.2% while in hypermarkets it was 2.2% and supermarkets 2.0%.

source: Carrefour


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EU competition watchdog to check if Carrefour breaching rules

The European Commission is looking into whether Carrefour’s policy of offering only “France Origin” seasonable vegetables in nearly 1,200 of its stores in France breaches competition rules.

The European Commission is looking into whether French retail giant Carrefour’s new policy of offering only ‘France Origin’ seasonable vegetables in nearly 1,200 of its stores in France may breach competition rules.

Margrethe Vestager, European commissioner for Competition, said the Commission is currently looking into the issues and liaising with the French competition authority.

“It appears from the press release issued in November that Carrefour and France’s federation of vegetable producers announced a new partnership agreement to offer only ‘France Origin’ seasonable vegetables in Carrefour’s 1,200 retail stores in France.”

“It is a priority of the Commission to protect the internal market and avoid restrictions of competition to the detriment of the consumer. It appears from the announcement in question that imported products will not be sold in Carrefour’s shops in France. In order to investigate whether the situation, and in particular this partnership, entails a breach of competition rules a number of facts would need to be ascertained.”

“The Commission is currently looking into these issues and liaising with the French competition authority,” she said.

Dutch MEP asks what what action will be taken if rules are being broken

Vestager was responding to a written question from Dutch MEP Jan Huitema (ALDE), who began by saying that the Carrefour announcement in November that in the next 10 months it would purchase fruit and vegetables only from French producers, meant imports of produce from other EU Member States would be blocked.

“Carrefour sees this as a means of supporting French farmers who have been hit by the Russian boycott, adverse weather conditions and low prices,” Huitema said, but he went on to ask, “if Carrefour is breaching EU competition rules with the measure and undermining free trade within the European Union.”

“What measures will the Commission take if it turns out that Carrefour has broken the rules and when will the Commission take action?” he also wrote.

Carrefour says “first of its kind” move aimed at helping French growers

In a November press release, Carrefour said  its agreement with France’s federation of vegetable producers to offer only France Origin seasonable vegetables was the “first of its kind” and “consistent with the group’s ongoing commitment to supporting farming and to working in close partnership with farmers. It will also apply to spring and summer vegetables.”

“Following the highly unusual weather conditions that 2014 has seen, together with the serious disruptions that have resulted from the sanctions imposed on Russia, Carrefour – in partnership with Légumes de France – has decided to support French producers of everyday vegetables and promote production in France of carrots, potatoes, onions, turnips, chicory, shallots, etc. while they are in season.”

“This commitment covers all of the group’s Carrefour hypermarkets and Carrefour Market supermarkets in France – a total of nearly 1200 stores. And so that customers know what exactly they’re buying, special signage will be used to identify all France Origin products,” Carrefour said.

Read more about the Carrefour Group on p26-27 of our latest edition, number 135.

carrefour article 135 screenshot.png


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Bright economic outlook for Saint-Charles International


Perpignan’s Saint-Charles International – Europe’s most important fruit and vegetable marketing, transport and logistics centre – expects excellent results for the 2014/15 season, with projected increases in volumes, prices and turnover.

According to figures presented at the November 25 AGM of the SNIFL (National Union of Fruit and Vegetable Importers/Exporters), turnover for 2014/15 is forecast to be up 12.54%, volume up 7.94% and prices 4.52% compared to the average for the previous three seasons.

And also based on figures to November 16, the results for 2013/14 are expected to see a 7.79% increase in volume and 4.05% increase in turnover, but a 3.44% slip in prices, compared to the average for the previous three seasons.

Each year, Saint-Charles International handles sales worth €1.6 billion and 1.5 million tons of fruit and vegetables –mainly of Mediterranean origin – and provides 2,500 jobs.

Agreements to share statistics, monitor Moroccan imports

In a press release about the AGM, Saint-Charles International said French Customs and the SNIFL signed an agreement aimed at strengthening relations between them and collaboration on initiatives such as the proposed one-stop customs (GNU) and sharing of statistics.

It also said an agreement was signed between FranceAgrimer (France’s national institution of agricultural and seafood products), the SNIFL and 19 firms with the goal of: “the most comprehensive collection of data enabling a better approach for the calculation of the PFD. That is guaranteed both by the number of operators and their weight in the trade of Moroccan tomato in this case, and by the analysis of different types of tomatoes. Every day before 3pm, the items are sent to the MNC which can exploit them before passing them to the services of the European Commission.”

Importance of Spain for the platform

The AGM was attended by Spanish Consul General Gaudencio Vilas, who described the platform and Spain as “an inseparable duo.” Vilas said Saint Charles International made a huge contribution to the economy of the city of Perpignan and the Pyrénees-Orientales.

He said he would remain vigilant to ensuring “that  free movement of goods within the European Union is respected”, stressing that “the incidents in recent months with Spanish trucks were unacceptable.” Vilas also stressed the importance of future railway links.

Saint-Charles International also paid tribute to Spain’s importance to the market, saying: “Today, Spain is still the leading partner of the platform with some 935,000 ton in citrus fruits, vegetables and fruit, and the main companies of Spanish origin have been since a long time in Perpignan, some since 1968. This meeting was an opportunity for business leaders to show their optimism for future cooperation between Spain and Saint-Charles International, and the parent company of subsidiaries based on the platform has actually confirmed that the Perpignan was for them ‘not cost structures, but added value centers’,” it said.


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borrar saint charles.png



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France’s MedFEL 2015 to feature new tech business gathering



Apples will be in the spotlight at next year’s MedFEL in Perpignan, the 7th edition of France’s ‘must-attend’ trade fair for the fruit and vegetable sector.

To be held April 21-23 at the Parc des Expositions (Exhibition centre), MedFEL 2015 will provide a comprehensive overview of apples and forecasts for this and four other fruits (apricots, peaches, melons and plums) as part of the programme of debates.

And the event features the launch of MedFEL Tech, a business gathering for fresh produce suppliers from the Mediterranean – which will see pre-production professionals invited to exhibit for the first time – as well as discussions on the difficulties facing the fruit and vegetable sector, the consequences of the Russian embargo, and the French agrifood sector contract.

Organised by Sud de France Développement and the Languedoc-Roussillon Regional Council, MedFEL has grown consistently over the last seven years. Last year’s edition attracted 5,315 visitors (up 10% on 2013), including the F&V sector’s most important buyers, and 241 exhibitors, and was the venue for more than 4,000 BtoB meetings.


To register :

Adhesion Group – 35/ 37 rue des Abondances  – 92513 Boulogne Cedex – France

Nicolas Cuissard  – Tel: +33 (0)1 41 86 49 03  – Email :

Press contacts:

Sud de France Développement – Jérôme Bouchindhomme

Tel: +33 [0] 4 99 64 29 36

Adhesion Group – Catherine Bourguignon

Tel : +33 (0)1 41 86 41 27







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France: the top melon purchaser

Intra-EU imports have been continuing their upward trend since 2011, with Spain still the official supplier in Europe for the EU-28. In 2013, these imports came to 592,288 tons, 0.5% more than in 2012 (588,758 t in total) and 24% more than in 2011 (536,928 t). Spain, accounting for over 60% of these, is still the leading European country exporting this fruit. In 2013, it exported 373,140 t of melons (worth nearly €283 million), ten thousand more than in 2012 (363,447 t) and nearly 40,000 tons more than in 2011 (335,439 t). 
France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Portugal are the main destinations dominating intra-EU melon imports. As one can see, 8 of the EU-28 countries monopolize nearly 85% of these imports, above all France in 2013 with 123,000 t, 5% up on 2012. For its part, Germany ranks as the second destination, growing less than France with 1% annual growth in 2013 compared to the previous year. In other locations, such as the Netherlands and Portugal, growth from 2012 to 2013 was around 4%. Overall, the 8 major intra-European destinations for European melons have seen growth every year since 2011. Only in Italy has it decreased, especially between 2012 and 2013, from 26,000 tons to 22,000 (14% less), most certainly because its domestic production grew. 
As for the source countries for the imports, Spain continues to lead the ranking, with 373,140 t in 2013; 10,000 more than in 2012 and 38,000 more than in 2011. The Netherlands is following the same upward trend. It is the second largest melon exporter within the EU-28 with 103,000 tons in 2013, similar to the 2012 figure. Third come Germany, France and Italy with very similar numbers. Germany exported just over 28,000 tons in 2013, France 29,000 t and Italy 26,000 t. 

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Intermarché wants to become France’s No.1 in fruit and vegetables

intermarche cédric Briais

The retailer’s three-year strategic plan aims to raise its market share from the current 13% to 15%

Intermarché wants to become France’s No.1 supermarket for fruit and vegetables. “In 2013, a consumer survey showed that none of the major French retailers is identified as the leader in fruit and vegetables”, explained Cédric Briais, the chairman of Sca Fruits Légumes Fleurs, Intermarché’s central produce purchasing organisation. “Evidently there is a gap to be filled and Intermarché, which has a store every 17 km throughout France, is in a good position to fill it”. Intermarché has 1813 stores in France (230 in Portugal, 80 in Belgium and 168 in Poland), in four formats (Hyper, Super, Contact, Express), but has lagged somewhat in fruit and vegetables up to now. While the Kantar ranking places it first for fish and second for meat, its market share in fruit and vegetables is only 13.1%. “We have accepted the challenge to increase it and make Intermarché the benchmark French supermarket for fruit and vegetables”, said Cédric Briais. 
A three-year strategic plan has been adopted to achieve a 15% market share at the end of 2015 and 16% at the end of 2017. The concept that has been developed is based on consumer demands. The main emphasis has been on staff training. “We have rewritten our training materials so that everyone has the knowledge to make a real career in produce, so they know the products, varieties and seasons and know how to optimise their freshness”. The decision was also taken to keep someone in the produce section all the time, to underline its traditional appearance. Shelf capacities have been reviewed to adjust them to the most delicate products. Also, the range has been expanded and segmented for greater clarity. For most lines, Intermarché will be offering budget, core, premium and rarer products. Segmentation by use will also be introduced for some products such as potatoes (baking, gratin, frying, firm-fleshed, microwaveable). Two brands have been created to make repeat purchasing easier. Mon Marché Plaisir, launched in January 2014 with an objective of 60 products by June, is intended for core products. “We have revised the specifications and worked hard on the varieties to guarantee the quality standards of these products”, emphasised Cédric Briais. Itinéraire des Saveurs is the brand that identifies local products but was not being used for fruit and vegetables, which it now will be, and also for PDO, PGI and similar products (Rate du Touquet potatoes, Corsican clementines, strawberries from Plougastel, etc.). POS advertising and information efforts will be made to tell consumers about the products, regions and recipes and showcase local products.

Developing partnerships
Another line of work is to develop partnerships with the growers. “Nowadays we need real partnerships to ensure supplies and continuity of quantities and quality, particularly for the products we sell under our own brands”. At the end of 2013, 3 to 5-year contracts were signed with the growers and suppliers of Mon Marché Plaisir products. They are based on undertakings concerning volumes, a certain number of depots to be delivered to every day, and seasonal or market prices depending on the product. Intermarché, which distributes 70% French products, has 6 buying offices at Perpignan, Cavaillon, Agen, Nantes, Arras and Tréville. These six offices supply the 18 depots that provide 80% of the stores’ procurement, while the rest is bought direct. “We make French and regional supplies a priority”, Cédric Briais said. “In lettuces, for example, although the south-east delivers to all the depots in winter, from April to September each depot buys locally”. Imported products are bought from the importers except for bananas, a flagship product for Intermarché that it buys direct. “The majority are grown in partnership with farmers in the West Indies. We buy full container loads, and each depot has its own ripening facility”. In 2013 the 1813 Intermarché stores achieved a turnover of €21.3 billion (up by 3.2%), excluding fuel, and consolidated the group’s 3rd place in the food rankings with a 14.2% market share (0 .3%).