Content of the study

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1.1 Definition and scope of the study

The cheese market in France can be segmented into two main categories:

  • Natural cheese, made from natural, fresh and high quality ingredients;
  • Processed cheese, made from natural cheese to which emulsifiers (two insoluble liquids), sodium citrate, calcium phosphate, sorbic acid (preservative), enzymes, etc. are added.sodium citrate, calcium phosphate, enzymes, vitamin D3, milk fat, extra salt, saturated vegetable oils, whey and artificial food coloring are added.

Processed cheese has a longer shelf life than natural cheese in cheese shops and supermarkets. With nearly 400 types listed, France is the country of cheese par excellence in the world.

Cheese manufacturing is a concentrated sector dominated by a handful of players, such as Bel or Entremont for example (1/3 of the French cheese market). The other major players in the market are either family-owned groups (Bongrain specializing in milk processing), cooperative groups, or dairy producers such as Lactalis.

The French are among the leading consumers of cheese in the world with more than 25 kg/inhabitant per year. The development of mass distribution to the detriment of local shops has weakened the artisanal products sold in local cheese factories and the majority of the cheese marketed is now industrially produced. This has favored the emergence of new players such as Carrefour in the distribution and production of private label cheese. The harmonization of sanitary rules imposed by Brussels is also a boon for industrial cheese.

In terms of foreign trade, the French trade balance is positive, the Hexagon exports in 2021 1.6 times more than it imports cheese. Its main export customers are Germany with 23% of total French exports, then Belgium (14%) and the United Kingdom (8%).

However, the volatility of world prices for industrial dairy products weakens the profitability of manufacturers: to counter these economic hazards and gain market share manufacturers rely on innovation (new formats, packaging) and communication (huge advertising budgets).

1.2 The world cheese market

The global cheese market has been valued at more than US$ ** billion in **** and is expected to reach approximately US$ *** billion by ****, thanks to a compound annual growth rate of *.**%. Thus, this market is growing due to innovations in the sector often initiated by large groups such as Lactalis or Savencia ...

1.3 The cheese market in France is growing slightly

The turnover before tax for the cheese market in France was calculated by crossing the data between the turnover index and the turnover before tax obtained from the NAF **.**C code corresponding to the manufacture of cheese. The annual growth rate in sales (***) between **** and **** is *.**%, due in particular to the ...

1.4 Foreign trade in cheese

French cheese exports declined by *.*% in value in **** due to sanitary measures between borders and within markets. The majority of French exports are directed to other European countries, which account for approximately **% of exports. Thus, the top five cheese exporting countries from France are Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Spain and ...

1.5 Impact of the Covid crisis

Due to the decline in activity in the catering industry, which accounts for **% of the domestic market, overall demand for cheese has fallen in France since the beginning of the crisis. Thus, production in France has declined by *.*% in ****. However, this decline is not as significant, mainly due to two main ...


2.1 Evolution of cheese consumption in France

The outlets of cheese dairies are mainly the retail trade, the catering industry and the food industry, which is particularly involved in the manufacture of prepared meals. In total, in ****, the entire consumption of cheese resulted in a turnover of € *.* billion[***]. With the decline in the activity of catering establishments, household ...

2.2 Typology of cheeses purchased by households in France

Let's focus on the types of cheeses preferred by the French. Pressed cooked cheeses such as Comté, Beaufort or Parmesan seem to be the most purchased by the French in **** and ****. We then notice that in second place are uncooked pressed cheeses, such as Reblochon or Saint-nectaire, followed by soft cheeses, ...

2.3 Type of cheese consumers

Since households are the main market for cheese, it is interesting to analyze the profile of cheese consumers, particularly their age. Thus, people between ** and ** years old and those over ** years old represent the highest percentages of the population consuming cheese daily.

In fact, young people between ** and ** years old only ...

2.4 Trend in demand towards organic

With a general increase in the population's preference for organic, this trend should also be observed in the cheese market. This has already been the case, for example, with organic goat cheese, which has seen a **.*% increase in sales, and organic sheep cheese, which has seen a *.*% increase in sales. In ...

2.6 The French's favorite cheese brands

The graph below was obtained from the survey conducted by OpinionWay about the favorite brands of the French in March ****. The answers to the question "Do you like this or that brand of cheese?" for each brand, the percentage corresponds to the proportion of respondents who answered "yes".

This graph does ...


3.1 The cheese value chain in France

3.2 Cheese distribution channels

The importance of the places where cheese is sold differs according to the designation of the cheese: PDO (***), it is noted that PDO cheeses are about *.* times more sold in **** in specialty stores than non PDO cheeses. However, according to CNAOL, non PDO cheeses are increasingly sold in specialty stores, whose ...

3.3 Geographical distribution of cheese dairies in France

Cheese making is very present everywhere in France, which is illustrated by the fact that each region has its own cheese characterized by a protected appellation. However, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is the region with the most cheese making establishments. Indeed, about */* of the cheese manufacturers are located in this region, which also ...

3.4 A highly concentrated market

The cheese market is mainly dominated by large private brands, often French, such as Lactalis, Bel or Savencia Fromage & Dairy. These three main groups alone represent **.*% of the cheese market in supermarkets in ****, followed by the leading French cooperative, which has a market share of *.*%. The rest of the supermarket market ...


4.1 Typology of the cheese offer

A wide variety of cheeses exist depending on the method of production or the type of milk used. Cheeses can be divided into four main categories:

Cow's milk cheeses which are divided into * main types according to the preparation process: rennet cheeses, soft cheeses, blue-veined cheeses, string cheeses or fresh ...

4.2 Cheese price trends in France

The average selling price of cheese increased between **** and **** in all categories, which is due to an increase in the price of cheese production, the latter resulting from the increase in milk prices. According to CNAOL, this increase is more significant for non PDO cheeses, which are experiencing an increase of ...

4.3 Supply trends/ innovations

Towards organic and PDO

There has been an increase in the supply of products under quality signs (***). First of all, the increase in purchases of organic dairy products was significant between **** and ****. Indeed, the penetration rate of organic fresh cheeses has increased by **.*% during this period against a decline of *.*% for ...


5.1 Regulations related to the appellation of cheeses

There are different labels that certify the origin and quality of a food product and more specifically of a cheese. Among them are:[***]

The Protected Designation of Origin (***) designates a product whose main production stages are carried out according to a recognized know-how in the same geographical area. The Appellation d'origine ...

5.2 EGAlim Law

The EGAlim law, or Loi pour l'équilibre des relations commerciales dans le secteur agricole et une alimentation saine et durable, passed on October *, **** and enacted on November *, ****.

The objectives of this law are as follows:

Revive value creation in agriculture and agribusiness and ensure its proper distribution Enable farmers to ...


6.1 Segmentation

  • Carrefour
  • La Cloche à fromage
  • Franprix, Groupe Casino
  • Sodiaal Groupe (Coopérative)
  • Bel (Produits Laitiers)
  • Auchan Retail
  • Eurial (Coopérative)
  • Savencia Fromage & Dairy Foodservice (Saviencia Fromage)
  • Jay & Joy
  • Chevenet

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Reviews (2)

The sports distribution market - France

Publicado en 19/09/2021 by Geoffroy Boucheteil

Interesting remarks on the impact of digitalization, major sporting events and consumer behaviors on market growth. The classification of the various distribution players allows us to see more clearly the various distribution channels

Businesscoot Response:

Hello Geoffroy, Thank you for your feedback and we are delighted that this study has given you a good overview of the market.

The sports distribution market - France

Publicado en 17/02/2021 by Pascal MONTALI

I congratulate the Businesscoot team for offering everyone accessible, useful and exploitable market research to lay the "foundations" of a strategy for setting up and/or developing a company, a brand, a product... without being drowned by data!

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