Summary of our market study

The global early produce market, encompassing fresh fruit and vegetable production and distribution, has demonstrated significant trends, with FAO reporting a consistent rise in value, despite a slight dip in production volume. Specifically, the value of fruit and vegetable production has increased by 23% over a decade. The market is predominantly vegetable-driven, with Asian regions, particularly China, dominating production. The French segment of this market has seen noteworthy expansion, with sales in specialized stores reaching 4.67 million euros in 2022.

Consumption patterns reflect a preference for seasonal and locally sourced produce, with organic products experiencing varying trends. Despite a peak in organic consumption in 2015 and notable growth thereafter, recent years have seen a decline, with the rate dropping by 5.19% in 2021 and further in 2022. Meanwhile, France's early produce segment is highly fragmented, with large supermarket chains holding the majority of the market share. On the trade front, France remains a net importer to meet diverse consumer demands, with imports forming a stable proportion of the market since 2020.

Overall, while the market is subject to climatic and economic fluctuations, consumer interest in quality and proximity continues to drive the fresh produce sector.

Dynamics and Consumer Preferences in the French Fruit and Vegetable Market

In recent years, the French market for fruits and vegetables has seen notable trends and shifting consumer preferences that have become significant in steering the demand within the industry. One key observation is the sustained demand for fresh produce, which has propelled the early produce segment to maintain a robust market presence. This dynamic segment, which encompasses specialized fresh fruit and vegetable stores, is capitalizing on the constant desire for freshness among consumers. Despite a slight decline in production volume, the value of the produce remains high, indicating a market willing to pay for quality. The French are increasingly discerning when it comes to their produce.

Seasonality and provenance rank high as purchasing criteria, with 66% and 64% of consumers, respectively, favoring these aspects. This focus suggests that environmental debates and ethical production methods are weighing heavily on buying decisions. Moreover, household consumption data reveals that while consumption by value has seen an uptick of roughly 10%, the volume consumed has marginally decreased by approximately 2.6%, illustrating the consumers’ willingness to spend more for less quantity, possibly for better quality or due to price increases.

Organic produce is also gaining ground, with modest yet consistent growth in the segment, despite a slight reversal in recent years. The desire for more health-conscious and environmentally friendly diets is echoed across various socio-professional categories, with a particularly strong inclination noted in the higher echelons, where about 85% are showing a willingness to increase their fruit and vegetable intake. In terms of actual consumption, each French household purchases between 80 and 86 kg of fruit and vegetables annually, with expenditures crossing the 460 euro mark, further emphasizing the cultural significance of these staples.

The French market, however, is not without its challenges and limitations. The country remains a net importer to satisfy the year-round demand and diverse consumer preferences. While the vegetable sector's coverage rate on imports is notably high, the fruit sector lags, which can be attributed to the seasonality and greater variety of fruits consumed in France. Overall, the French fruit and vegetable market is a testament to changing consumption patterns, where quality, seasonality, and origin are becoming central to the evolving demands of consumers.

Despite fluctuations in consumption volume and a slight decrease in organic produce intake, the market size, estimated at around 4.67 million euros, suggests a resilient and adaptive industry. This is further evidenced by the fact that a majority of French households are engaged in the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables,

Pivotal Contributors in the Early Produce Landscape

The early produce market, characterized by the vibrant dissemination of fresh fruit and vegetables, centers around dominant players who cater to different facets of the industry. These entities range from colossal B2C distribution conglomerates to sprightly franchise networks, each commanding a unique influence on the sector. Additionally, B2B distributors play a significant role in interfacing with businesses, while localized food networks emphasize the short distribution channel's appeal to the consumer's desire for freshness and quality.

  • Starting with the giants of B2C (Business to Consumer) distribution, we encounter household names such as Auchan, Carrefour, Leclerc, and Casino. These behemoths operate extensive networks of hypermarkets and supermarkets, leveraging vast economies of scale to offer an array of fruit and vegetable choices to the consumers. Their presence is vast, and their influence on pricing and consumer trends cannot be overstated.
  • Nestled alongside these giants but shining with a distinct signature of fresh produce are the fresh produce franchises like Grand Frais. This franchise has managed to carve out a niche for itself by emphasizing the freshness and quality of their produce, often sourcing from local and regional suppliers to ensure a steady supply of in-season selections to their consumers.
  • Exploring the realm of independents, we meet merchants like France Primeurs, who uphold the traditional image of quality and customer proximity. These independents sustain the market's texture by offering personalized shopping experiences and maintaining high quality and freshness standards.
  • In the realm of B2B (Business to Business) distribution, capable actors such as Laurance Primeurs, SAPAM, and Chrono Primeurs operate. They excel in serving businesses, showing adeptness at maneuvering through the complex landscape of wholesale supply while ensuring timely and fresh delivery of produce to various commercial clients.
  • Advocates of "farm to fork" provisioning, the short distribution channels for fruit and vegetables, are exemplified by Potager City and La Ruche Qui Dit Oui. These networks have captured a growing segment of consumers who are keen on consuming produce with known origins and minimal food miles. They place emphasis on local sourcing, freshness, and the ethical dimension of farming, resonating well with environmentally and health-conscious customers.

Navigating through the dynamic foliage of the early produce market, these primary players bring forth a melange of fresh and wholesome products to the table. Their tailored strategies and distribution methods coalesce to supply the vibrant demand while sculpting the contours of this flourishing industry.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Presentation and definition

The early produce market covers the production, harvesting and distribution of fresh fruit and vegetables. Early marketers market fruit and vegetables sourced from wholesalers or local growers.

Les primeurs are the third-largest fruit and vegetable distribution channel in France, and account for a tiny share of market sales, far behind supermarkets. Out-of-home consumption and producers' own consumption round out the sources of fruit and vegetable consumption in France.

The early produce business appears to be on a very positive trend, with sales almost doubling in eight years. This dynamic is all the more impressive given that the French fruit and vegetable market is not following quite the same trend.

France imports a significant proportion of its fruit and vegetables, not only to compensate for a climate that is not conducive to the cultivation of certain foods, but also to meet a diverse demand.

On average, French households buy around 80 kg of fresh fruit and 86 kg of fresh vegetables each year, for a budget of over 460 euros per household. French households, concerned about food quality and environmental issues, are buying more of their fruit and vegetables from the greengrocer, which is helping the channel to gain market share.

Highly fragmented and highly competitive, the early produce market is still dominated by a handful of wholesalers in its distribution segment, with nearly half of all fresh fruit and vegetables distributed in France by wholesalers on and off the market.

The early produce market remains intrinsically subject to the vagaries of climate and weather, which explains the occasional surge in prices, not to mention the international economic situation, the price of raw materials and fuel, and so on. Players in the early produce market are seeking to position themselves in the organic sector, which has now become an essential part of the food sector.

1.2 The world early produce market: current situation and main characteristics

Trends in the value of global fruit and vegetable production World, ****-**** FAO

the value of fruit and vegetable production has risen by **% in ** years.

The early produce market comprises two segments: the sale of fresh fruit in specialized stores and the sale of fresh vegetables in specialized stores. According to ...

1.3 Growth in the fruit and vegetable market and dynamism in the fresh produce business

Fruit and vegetable production has increased significantly in value in recent years, while production volume has fallen slightly. Despite this downward quantitative trend, the value of produce remains high, reflecting sustained market demand. In this context, early produce seems to benefit from this dynamic, capitalizing on the constant demand for fresh ...

1.4 Foreign trade: France remains a net importer

France is a net importer of fruit and vegetables, with a coverage rate that tends to remain remarkably stable. Despite the richness of its agricultural terroir, growing demand throughout the year and the diversity of food preferences among French consumers have led the country to depend in part on imports to ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Fruit and vegetable consumption

Purchasing criteria for fresh fruit and vegetables France, ****, in percent Franceagrimer

The seasonality of the product seems to remain the main criterion for buying fresh fruit and vegetables for the French, with **%, although it is closely followed by provenance with **%. These are major issues for consumers, not least as a result ...

2.2 Booming consumption of organic products

Agence Bio reports on a survey of French consumers of organic produce. This survey, which we'll be using throughout the application section, concerns all organic products, but it shows that **% of regular organic consumers (***) consume organic fruit and vegetables, so the more general results of this survey, reported here, remain very ...

2.3 Lower consumption of animal proteins

A drop in French meat consumption partly due to awareness-raising campaigns

While **% of proteins consumed in France are of animal origin, the trend is clearly downward. French eating and consumption habits are changing. By ****, **% of French people are ready to reduce the amount of animal protein they consume [***]. In addition, actions ...

3 Market structure

3.1 The role of greengrocers in the fruit and vegetable sector

The fruit and vegetable sales sector is organized around the following players:

Producers Wholesalers and traders Local networks and short distribution channels Specialized distributors and greengrocers Mass retailers (***)

Specialized fruit and vegetable distribution value chain

3.2 Les primeurs, France's third-largest fruit and vegetable distribution channel

In terms of sales of fresh fruit and vegetables, the early produce sector lags far behind supermarket distribution. In fact, supermarkets, hypermarkets and own-brand supermarkets(***) alone will account for over **% of sales in ****.

Breakdown of household fruit and vegetable consumption by distribution channel France, ****, in Franceagrimer

Early produce accounts for *% of ...

3.3 The primeur market is highly fragmented

The primeur market is made up of two types of players: independents and primeurs operating under the same banner. The independents make up the bulk of the retail fabric, and are often found in city centers. However, fresh produce superstores are a real threat, as they enjoy both a good image ...

3.4 Geographical distribution of primeurs in France


4 Offer analysis

4.1 Breakdown of production and products preferred by the French

French fruit and vegetable production

According to FranceAgriMer, France produced *,***,*** tonnes of vegetables in ****, from a cultivated area of ***,*** hectares divided into ***** farms, and *,***,*** tonnes of fruit grown on ***,*** hectares.

Breakdown by volume of most consumed vegetables France, ****, % (***) Source: ****

Fruits most popular with French consumers France, ****, % Source: FranceAgriMer LSA and Toluna Potatoes ...

4.2 Organic and conventional fruit and vegetable prices

Every year, the Familles rurales association conducts a survey on the price and consumption of fruit and vegetables in France. TheObservatoire du prix des fruits et légumes à l'été **** provides us with very precise information, some of which will be relayed in this section.

Fruit prices:

The table below reports ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Hygiene package and sanitary supervision

There's no diploma required to work as a greengrocer, although training courses such as the CAP primeur and Certificats de Qualification Professionnelle are available. Essential skills include in-depth knowledge of distribution channels, products and customer preferences, as well as rigorous order and stock management. Good interpersonal skills, availability and excellent health ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation

  • E.Leclerc
  • Carrefour Bio
  • Terroirs d'Avenir
  • La vie Claire
  • Les Comptoirs de la Bio
  • Casino Groupe
  • Auchan groupe
  • Grand Frais (Prosol)
  • Potager City
  • La Ruche Qui Dit Oui (Equanum)

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Trends in world fresh vegetable production
  • Trends in world fresh fruit production
  • The world's largest fruit producers
  • The world's largest vegetable producers
  • Trends in the value of world fruit and vegetable production
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Latest news

Auchan faces another "difficult" year in 2023 - 22/02/2024
  • -Auchan net loss in 2023: 379 million euros
  • - Previous year's profit: 33 million euros
  • - Auchan's position in the French retail sector: 5th
  • - Revenue in 2023: down 1.7% to 32.9 billion euros
  • - Share of hypermarkets in Auchan's store base: 21%
  • - Acquisition of Casino stores by Auchan and Intermarché: 70 supermarkets, 26 hypermarkets, including five larger than 9,000 m2, and two drives
Casino: Intermarché and Auchan win the bid - 18/12/2023
  • Casino: Intermarché, which had joined forces with Auchan to buy the 320 stores, finally won the bid.
  • The value of the transaction would be close to 1.6 billion euros, or 37% of the sales taken over (3.6 billion euros).
  • A social issue
  • In addition to the takeover of dozens of supermarkets and hypermarkets, Carrefour PROPOSED to take over 7,000 convenience stores under the Petit Casino, Vival and other banners. This possibility was rejected by Casino and its receivers
  • Intermarché has opened up its internal rules for independent groups to franchising, to accommodate the 60 Casino franchisees.
  • Intermarché and Auchan will share the 313 outlets sold in roughly equal parts, with Auchan taking over almost all of the 42 hypermarkets.
  • Monoprix and Franprix will remain under Groupe Casino control
Auchan: New Beginnings - 06/12/2023
  • Gérard Mulliez founded Auchan in 1961.
  • Auchan hypermarkets account for 80% of the company's sales.
  • Auchan's market share has fallen from over 10% five years ago to 8.4% today.
  • Failed attempt by the Mulliez family to take over Carrefour in October 2021.
  • Auchan and Intermarché are looking to form a product purchasing alliance, which would give them a combined market share of 30%.
  • Auchan and Intermarché have been trying to share nearly 300 hypers and supermarkets that Casino is due to sell.
Leclerc to grow strongly in 2022, driven by inflation - 17/04/2023
  • E.Leclerc sales up 8.5% including fuel in 2022.
  • E.Leclerc sales in 2022: 43.9 billion euros excluding fuel and 55.6 billion euros including fuel.
  • E.Leclerc is France's leading food retailer
  • E.Leclerc has 544 members and 734 stores.
The organic sector in turmoil: Vie Claire sales down 8.7% by 2022 - 10/04/2023
  • -Decline in national organic sales: 12% by 2022
  • Number of La Vie Claire stores: 400
  • La Vie Claire sales in 2022: 325 million euros
  • Drop in La Vie Claire sales in 2022: 8.7%
La Vie Claire in peril: -8.7% in 2022. - 10/04/2023
  • La Vie Claire sales: 8.7% decrease by 2022, to 325 million euros.
  • Number of La Vie Claire stores: around 400 by 2023.
  • Head office: based in Rhône, France.
  • Organic market growth: double-digit growth until three years ago, then 12% decline in national organic sales by 2022.
  • Inflation in the organic sector: rising inflation, due in particular to higher energy and materials prices
  • The brand is also continuing to expand with new store openings, and is exploring complementary models such as lease management or free management.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Carrefour Bio
Terroirs d'Avenir
La vie Claire
Les Comptoirs de la Bio
Casino Groupe
Auchan groupe
Grand Frais (Prosol)
Potager City
La Ruche Qui Dit Oui (Equanum)

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