The French organic dairy products market is set to grow rapidly in the coming years as dairies raise production levels, according to a new report from Organic Monitor.
A major constraint to market growth in previous years has been organic milk shortages which have resulted in high volumes being imported from neighbouring countries. However, as the amount of organic milk produced by France's own organic dairy farmers increases, there is expected to be a large rise in the production of organic dairy products.
The organic milk market was one of the first products to take root in the French organic food industry, with hypermarkets first selling organic milk in 1996. It can now be found in nearly all of the major retailers.
The organic cheese market is the least developed in the French organic dairy sector and is therefore likely to show the highest growth. Organic Monitor expects French dairies to step up production of cheeses like Camembert, Roquefort and Comté in the coming years to cater for the growing demand from French retailers and the export market.
Additional research from Organic Monitor shows that the organic market as a whole is now beginning to find its feet in France after decades of underachievement.
France was one of the first countries to introduce formal organic standards, as far back as 1971. Until the mid-1990s, France's position as a producer and consumer of organic food was almost unchallenged in Europe, but it then began to fall behind countries such as Denmark, Austria and Switzerland.
The resurgence of the organic sector in France is due to the wave of food scares such as the BSE crisis, the dioxin episode, listeria cases, fear of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the foot-and-mouth crisis. These have caused French consumers to question the safety of conventional foods, and demand for organic food has been increasing between 40-60% for many product lines since the beginning of the BSE crisis in November 2000.