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France catching up with organic leaders

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Even though France is the largest agricultural producer in Europe, its development regarding organic food has been rather slow. Countries like Germany have traditionally been more active in the organic sector. But France seems to be on the way to catching up. According to the organic agency Agence Bio, the first half of this year has proved to be very fruitful. Organic food sales increased by 20% during this period compared with the same period in 2015. It is the fastest increase that the country has experienced in the last seven years. France is expecting to reach €6.9 billion in organic sales by the end of the year - a gain of €1 billion in just one year.

Also the surface area of land used for organic agricultural purposes increased from 1.4 million hectares (2015) to 1.57 million hectares, which equates to 5.8% of the total farmland. This is also facilitated by the increase in the number of organic farms – a rise of 10% since the beginning of 2016.

The retail area is developing at a fast pace as well. 200 new organic food stores were opened the first half of 2016. The sales in specialist stores went up by 25% and by 18% in supermarkets. According to the latest Barometer Agence BIO / CSA 2015, 9 out of 10 French (89%) now consume organics, at least occasionally, whereas in 2003 the figure was only 54%. As many as 65% use organics regularly, that is to say at least once a month, against 37% in 2003. Carrefour is establishing stand-alone shops in Paris that will sell exclusively organic food. The company is investing in more possibilities for the consumer to have access to organic food because since last year sales of these products have increased by 11% in their chain stores.


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