France’s agri-food sector has an annual turnover of approximately €214 billion, of which €154 billion is generated by the food-processing sector. The sector is growing between 5% and 7% annually. French expertise in food production is recognised and valued by international producers, and the country has a well-trained, adaptable and highly productive workforce.
The French agri-food industry is the second largest in the world after the United States. The sector employs 600,000 agricultural workers and 415,000 food-industry employees. Exports valued at €45.1 billion, including €33.4 billion relating solely to processed products, contribute to the French agri-food sector’s overall trade surplus, which reached €9.1 billion in 2007.
How do you feed a world population which is soon to reach eight billion people? How do you deal with rising prices in food commodities? How do you face the challenge of unequally distributed resources? These are a few of the questions facing the agri-food business today. The industry covers the manufacture of agricultural equipment, the production of consumables (such as fertilizers, seed and animal feed), the preparation and processing of both plant and animal products (including their storage, packaging, processing, preservation and distribution), and the utilisation, processing and recycling of by-products and waste.
Philippe Favre, Chairman of the Invest in France Agency, says, “Because agri-food and gastronomy have such a long and rich tradition here, France is the premier European agricultural producer and remains a recognised benchmark for world agriculture.”
Leading French groups in the sector include Danone, Lactalis, Bongrain, LVMH and Pernod Ricard. Numerous international companies, including Nestlé, Unilever, Coca Cola, Heineken, General Mills and Haribo, have also chosen France as the location for their European production and logistics platforms, or as the base for their global expansion.
Other companies which have recently established production or logistics sites in France are Cinquième Saison (salad and fresh products), a subsidiary of the Icelandic group Bakkavör; Danisco, which has opened an R&D centre specialising in fermentation products; Sakata Seeds (seeds); Moy Park (poultry-based intermediate products); Ebly /Masterfoods (cereals); and McCormick (condiments).
The French agri-food industry is an environment that favours innovation transfer. It has 10,000 highly skilled engineers, researchers and technicians, and an annual R&D budget in excess of €400 million. The interface between private-sector businesses and public- or private-sector research bodies is provided by 15 competitiveness clusters: Agrimip Innovation in Toulouse, Filière Equine in Mondeville, Industries et Agroresources in Laon, Nutrition, Santé, Longévité in Lille, Valorial in Rennes, Pôle Filière Produits Aquatiques in Boulogne sur Mer, Cereals Valley in Chappes, Innovation Fruits et Légumes in Avignon, Vitagora in Dijon, Qualitropic in Réunion, Végépolys in Angers, Prod’innov in Bordeaux, Q[.]li-mediterrannée in Montpellier, Innoviandes in Clermont-Ferrand, and Parfums, Arômes, Senteurs, Saveurs in Grasse.
About the Invest in France Agency
The Invest in France Agency (IFA) promotes and facilitates international investment in France. The IFA network operates worldwide. IFA works in partnership with regional development agencies to offer international investors business opportunities and customized services all over France.
For more information about this press release, please contact Martin Hedges, Director of Communications at the Invest in France Agency in London: mhedges[.]investinfrance.org