A Quick Guide to the French Dairy Market: Consumption Stats, Consumer Habits, Market Size, Major Players, and More

It goes without saying that the French has quite a long and passionate love affair with dairy products. Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, Bleu d’Auvergne, Munster and Comté are some of most esteemed cheeses France has contributed to the world. However, the country’s love for dairy is not limited to cheese alone. Yogurt, crème, crème fraiche, butter or milk-based desserts, the French have a penchant for everything dairy. This means good news if you are a dairy supplier who is planning to take a plunge into the competitive French market. Here’s a quick and easy market guide to help you get started.

Market Size and Consumption Patterns

Reports have it that France is one of the top 15 milk-consuming countries in the world and about 75% of milk produced in France is converted into perishable dairy products. It is also estimated that over 70% people consume dairy products every day and over 90% of them consume cheese at least once in every week, making France one of the top cheese consuming countries in Europe. The French are also counted among the biggest consumers of butter, thanks to their love for croissants and other baked products.

Major Players in French Dairy Market

As of 2015, France has over 1300 dairy companies producing fresh and perishable milk-based products. One of the top players in the French market is Lactalis who, according to the survey published by Rabobank in 2019, is the second-largest company in the whole world in terms of turnover. Lactalis is best known for their cheese brand named Président, which is available in hard as well as soft formats. Another major industry giant is Danone who, despite being known as the Yoghurt experts of France, has a presence in all dairy categories. Sodiaal and Savencia are among the other globally recognized players in the French dairy market.

Buying Habits in the Dairy Industry

In the past few years, there have been considerable changes in the buying habits of French consumers owing to the busy lifestyle, health trends, veganism, and changing perceptions of the younger generation. For instance, the longstanding French tradition of consuming cheese after meals is reportedly declining across the country. Likewise, more and more consumers are opting for hard cheese as against the traditional soft cheese while plant-based and gluten-free yoghurt is gaining popularity among consumers. Fresh milk (both full fat and semi-skimmed formats) is also rising in popularity and many customers are opting for ethical milk in an attempt to ensure that farmers get their fair share. While flavored milk products and chilled desserts are always on demand, organic and all-natural are the new keywords in the French dairy market. What’s more, growing concerns about nutritional properties have also prompted many consumers to ditch fortified and reduced fat products.

General Conclusion

Despite the emerging trends and changing buying habits, the demand for dairy products in France remains high even in 2020. New players and dealers can capitalize on the changing patterns in consumption by delivering the right products at the right time. If you are looking for initial dairy connections and customers in France, contact us for more information about the Wabel Dairy Summit.