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Whole food Wholesale Trade in France

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

The whole food wholesale trade presents a very varied picture in France - very big general wholesalers operating nationally next to small specialists and regional players. Their ranges fluctuate between 170 and over 8,000 articles. The market is shared by around 20 companies.


Picture: Bjorg by Distriborg

Four wholesalers supply full product ranges to sales networks of between 1,100 and 1,600 stores. Bonneterre (Picture) and Kalisterra are two of these major national players and both are a part of the Distriborg group of companies. Distriborg, with its organic brand goods, is very important both for the specialist whole food trade and for the conventional retail food trade. The group’s portfolio includes not only firms with a long tradition such as Bonneterre (founded in 1950) but also its own modern enterprises, such as Kalisterra that was created in 2005 from already existing units. Another important national player is “Pur Aliment”. This wholesaler, with its emphasis on health foods, has been operating since 1907 and since 1992 has been a part of the group of companies belonging to the Claus family (represented also in Switzerland, Germany and Austria). Its own brand Pural is very well established internationally.


The remaining nation-wide wholesalers are specialists supplying between 300 and 1,100 stores. One of them is “Aquibio” (Picture), a supplier of frozen foods that developed from a producers’ association in western France. Others are ProNatura and Vitafrais, which are fruit and vegetable specialists, and the specialist wholesalers “Nature” and “Bleu-Vert” (picture below) that deal in food supplements and natural cosmetics. “Nature” has taken a step in the direction of the retail trade and the natural food trade with its shop-in-shop concept (“Boutique Nature”), and its own “Nature” shop concept is to follow as a franchise system.


The regional full-range wholesalers “Biocash”, “Naturdis”, “Pronadis”, “Provences Bio” and “Relais Vert” are firmly established in their own territories. The number of clients they supply is between 150 and 600. Some of them have agreements with each other to protect their territory, and they collaborate well on this basis by exchanging information or joining together as purchasers and without trying to take each others’ clients. Naturally they are exposed to competition by the national players and they have tried to create their own identity by modernising their logistics and service and by supplying high-quality ranges of goods (Fair Trade in the case of Relais Vert; only organically certified natural cosmetics in the case of Pronadis).  They are maintaining their position in the market by paying particular attention to small shops.


There are regional specialists for fruit and vegetables, for drinks and for dry goods and health foods. These firms supply between 50 and 250 shops each. By buying up Chantenat in the west of France, Distriborg is making its mark in regional fruit and vegetable marketing. The brand article company “Euronat-Priméal” bought up the wine specialist “Bio-Land” in order to develop its own distribution, including for its own dry range, in the Paris conurbation. ” Scot la Cigogne” in Alsace is part of the organic tradition and itself still produces goods in the farmers’ cooperative from which the company developed.  30 % of the goods traded originate in the region. Sparbé, a family run dry goods wholesaler in the South West, would like to supply private customers direct in the future via the internet.


Many of the organic wholesalers were founded in the 1990s at the time of the first great organic boom in France. They frequently developed out of agricultural producer associations, organisations formed by producers and consumers or shopkeeper associations. In some cases, individual shop owners developed themselves into wholesalers.


The influence exerted by brand article companies like Distriborg and Euronat is considerable and there is a lot of evidence that these companies want to continue their expansion in the trade by buying up traditional wholesalers. These firms have an international strategy in the same way as Pur Aliment with Pural.


Even though the companies are very diverse, they have one feature in common: whether large or small, long-standing or recently set up, regional or national, specialist or full range supplier, independent or subsidiary, all the available data indicate a growth in turnover of at least 10 % annually for the organic wholesale trade in France.


Overview of Organic Wholesalers in France


Company  Main Range Territory Market Share (%)* Shops Supplied
Aquibio Specialist for frozen products national  < 1    300
Biocash   Full range Southern France 3-4 200
Biodis Health Foods Western france, Paris 4 210
Demeter products Western France, Paris   <1 50
Bio-Land  Wine and dry range Northern France, Paris 1 250
Bleu-Vert  Natural cosmetics national 1 600
Bonneterre** Full range national and international 20 1,600
Chantenat** Fruit and Vegetables Western France   2-3 270
Fort et Vert Fruit and vegetables Northern France 1-2 55
Kalisterra** Full range brand articles national  & international 15 1,400
Naturdis Full range Alps, Mediterranean coast 5 150
Nature  Food supplements and cosmetics national 3-4 1,100
Probabio , 1    250 Dry range
Pronadis Full range Central and South West France 3 250
Fruit and vegetables national & international 15 860
Provinces bio (Fruit and vegetables), full range Western France  2 200
Pur Aliment Everything except fruit and vegetables national & international 5 1,440
Relais Vert Fruit and vegetables eastern half of France 11 600
Scot la Cigogne Fruit and Vegetables Strasbourg  region   2 300
Sparbé Dry range South West France    1 no data
Vitafrais Fresh goods national  6 450

*estimate of the proportion of the total turnover of the companies listed here which is estimated to be about 220 million Euros.
** belonging to the Distriborg group of companies


Contact with French Organic Wholesalers


Company Contact data
Aquibio  Ramon 47140 St Sylvestre sur Lot - Tel.: 0553412971 - Fax: 0553/417896
Biocash 17, rue St Exupery - 34430 St Jean de Verdas - Tel.: 0467132172 - Fax: 0467132171
Biodis ZI Rte de Lorient - 11, rue de la Retardais - 35000 Rennes - Tel.: 0299144120 - Fax: 0299144121
Bio-Dynamie  13, rue Abbe Borreau- 78400 Chatou - Tel.: 0130719125 - Fax: 0130719134
Bio-Land  ZI de la Butte Gayen - 94440 Santeny - Tel.: 0143861100 - Fax: 0143861300
Bleu-Vert  1156 chemin de Sourdaine - 84140 Montfavet - Tel.: 0490810403- Fax: 0490810139
Bonneterre Place des Planters - 94538 Rungis Cedex - Tel.: 0149782500 -Fax: 0146879168
Chantenat Case 26 allée Sud min - 44061 Nantes Cedex - Tel.: 0240353005 - Faz: 0240080047
Fort et Vert Alee de L’Allemagne - 62223 Feuchy - Tel.: 0321152828 - Fax: 0321152829
Kalisterra 217 chemin due Grand Revoyet - 69230 St. Genis-Laval - Tel.: 0478864770 - Fax:  0478864771
Naturdis 57, Bd Marcel Pagnol - 06130 Grasse - Tel.: 0492424848- Fax: 0492424844
Nature 620 Av. Blaise Pascal - 77550 Moisy-Cramayel - Tel.: 0164880068 - Fax: 0164139641
Probabio Boulevard d’Avignon - 84200 Carpentras - Tel.: 0490672372 - Fax: 0557340929
Pronatura Min BP 107 - 84300 Cavaillon - Tel.: 0490787300 - Fax: 0490787310
Provinces bio Min  Case no 6 Ouest - 44262 Nantes Cedex 02 - Tel.: 0240489393 - Fax: 0240473867
Pur Aliment  4 rue A. Kastler, BP 32 - 67541 Ostwald Cedex - Tel.: 0369111113 - Fax: 0369111110
Relais Vert Avenue des Marches - 84200 Carpentras - Tel.: 0490672372 - Fax: 0490605291
Scot la Cigogne 2A, rue due Ried - 67720 Weyersheim - Tel.: 0388681512 - Fax: 0388517605
Sparbé rue Pierre-Paul de Riquet - 33610 Canejan - Te.: 0556070011 - Fax: 0556369561
Vitafrais 50 bd Lundy - 55100 Reims - Tel.: 0326878686 - Fax: 0326878687






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