Since 2020, the ham market, as an integral part of the charcuterie market, has demonstrated various trends and faced challenges. Notably, it has experienced a decline, with cooked ham segments like superior, label, and York forming a majority of the market at 64.03% in 2018 and showing a tendency for decreased meat consumption in France overall. The French ham market is primarily dominated by a few foreign food groups, cooperatives, and family businesses, with Fleury-Michon and Herta leading in market share.

The market has been influenced by consumer demands for natural and health-conscious products, impacting sales of traditional products like Bayonne ham. The import of ham, particularly from Spain and Italy, has also been significant, with imports roughly double that of exports, indicating strong foreign competition. Additionally, the industry has seen efforts to adapt to new consumption patterns, with manufacturers investing in nitrite reduction and the industry grappling with employment concentration in SMEs.

Regulatory standards, such as the "Hygiene Package" from the EU, continue to shape the market, and the sector remains watchful of the impacts from the Egalim law aimed at rebalancing producer-distributor negotiations. Despite these challenges, the global charcuterie market, which encompasses ham, is expected to grow strongly in the coming years due to factors like demand for convenient, packaged foods and higher protein diets.

Trends and Dynamics of the Ham Market in France

The ham market in France is experiencing significant shifts in demand and consumption patterns as consumers increasingly prioritize the origin and health impact of their food products. Amidst these changes, the market for charcuterie, which includes ham, has shown a general sluggish growth, but with the ham segment specifically witnessing a decline. For instance, the charcuterie market saw a modest increase of 1.1%, yet the ham market in that same year fell by 3.3%.

Despite the downtrend, the French market still showed a preference for certain types of ham, such as those aligned with natural and healthy product demands. However, foreign products, notably Spanish hams like those with the Guijuelo PDO designation, have surged in popularity due to their methods of production that appeal to the new consumer preferences. Importantly, these changing tastes are reflected in the broader meat consumption trends observed in France.

Meat consumption peaked in the late 1990s, with an average annual consumption of around 90 to 95 kilograms per person, only to see a gradual decline in more recent years. Reflecting a more health-conscious society, the intake of meat has been reported to drop by around 10 to 15 percent over the last decade, with daily meat consumption decreasing by more than 50 grams since 1998. This trend is despite the fact that pork remains the most consumed meat. The decline is apparent even in charcuterie products whose consumption rate has also faltered, with a drop of approximately 15 to 20 percent over a couple of years.

New consumption patterns are emerging with around 25 to 30 percent of French households identifying as flexitarian, seeking to reduce their meat intake and substitute animal protein with other foods. This shift is influencing the market structure and positioning of key players in the ham market. Dominated by major foreign food groups and cooperatives, as well as family businesses, the market sees little room for new entrants. Leading brands like Herta and Fleury-Michon, along with foreign names such as Aosta from the Campofrio Food Group, are tasked with adjusting their strategies to this new consumer landscape. In light of the declining domestic demand, it's important to also note the importance of foreign trade within the ham market.

France reports significantly higher imports as compared to its exports, with a coverage rate of just over 50 percent, indicating that imports are about twice as high as exports. Spain, Germany, and Italy are.

Dominant Forces in the Ham Market Landscape

Within the dynamic and competitive ham market in France, certain enterprises have carved out significant niches for themselves, contributing to the shaping of the industry's current structure. These actors command attention not only because of their market share but also due to their efforts in adapting to changing consumer demands and regulatory standards.

  • Fleury Michon stands at the forefront of the market, slightly edging past its competition with a 21.8% market share. This success is attributed to the company's focus on offering a diverse range of deli meats, which align with consumer preferences for healthier options. Fleury Michon's commitment to quality and consumer health is reflected in its innovations, particularly in the realm of nitrite-free products.
  • Herta, another vital player and a subsidiary of Nestlé France, closely follows with a 21.6% market share in value. Although slightly trailing behind Fleury Michon in terms of market share, Herta leads in volume, holding a 17.5% stake. Famed for its variety of charcuterie and ready-to-eat meals, Herta has found success by banking on consumer convenience and a strong brand reputation.
  • Aoste, a French subsidiary of Campofrio Food Group, showcases its dominance in the raw ham segment, ruling with a 21% market share in value as of January 2019. Aosta's traction is likely fueled by its wide array of cured meats that appeal to consumers seeking authentic flavors and artisanal quality.
  • Other relevant actors include Bigard SA, known for its Charal brand, which has established itself both in the world of fresh meats and the charcuterie sub-sector. Their processed meats leverage the strong brand identity of Charal, resonating with consumers who prioritize brand reliability. Carrefour SA, a prominent supermarket chain, and
  • Casino, another well-known retailer, offer their private label products that give buyers an economical alternative to name-brand meats without compromising on quality. As consumer prices are a critical factor, these supermarket chains wield substantial influence in shaping market trends and demands.
  • Lastly, amid the scares of a potential "ham cartel" that could suggest price-fixing activities among industry players, organizations like Campofrio Food and the Coop group have responded by engaging in leniency proceedings, potentially indicating their willingness to cooperate and recalibrate if necessary.

In sum, the ham market in France is a tight oligopoly. 

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

Ham is the cured or cooked preparation of the pork leg or shoulder. The ham market is a component of the charcuterie industry. please note that this study concerns exclusively pork ham, and therefore excludes "poultry ham".

Worldwide, the market is growing, and should continue to do so until 2026, at an average annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8% .

In France, despite a decline in meat and charcuterie consumption, the size of the ham market has remained stable over the last decade. However, the French market benefited from the health crisis to grow by 8.1% in 2020 compared to 2019. The national market is characterized by high concentration, with private labels (Auchan, Carrefour, Intermarché etc.) as well as leaders Herta and Fleury Michon largely dominating the sector. In addition, hams of foreign origin have a strong presence on the French market. In fact, France imports more ham than it exports, mainly from Italy and Spain. In France, for example, we find Bayonne ham.

The market is strongly impacted by several trends, mainly linked to the environment and health, with, for example, the reduction of plastic packaging and the multiplication of hams with no or less nitrites.

List of charts

  • Size of the global ham and bacon market
  • Size of the ham market in France
  • Breakdown of ham sales (value)
  • Ham trade balance
  • Foreign trade in ham by segment
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Latest news

Fleury Michon, the king of ham, bets on plant-based products with vegetable slices - 28/03/2024
  • - Fleury Michon sales: 795 million euros.
  • - Products offered: three legume-based products (coral lentils, chickpeas, white beans)
  • - Target market: 50% of consumers in France claim to be flexitarians.
  • - Annual decline in the pork ham market: 2% to 3% in volume since 2015
  • - Estimated supermarket delicatessen market for plant-based products: close to 150 million euros, up by around 3% in volume.
  • fleury Michon's "nitrite-free" market share: 62% of sales.
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
How Intermarché plans to transform 350 Casino stores - 09/01/2024
  • 3000 associate members
  • A total of 350 stores that have or will switch to the Intermarché and Netto banners
Intermarché Express to surpass 1 billion euros in sales with urban convenience stores in 2023 - 10/12/2023
  • Intermarché Express sales growth for 2023: +21.5%.
  • Sales: close to €1 billion by mid-November 2023, likely to exceed €1.1 billion over 12 months.
  • Number of Intermarché Express stores: 157
  • Anticipated expansion of the supermarket market in urban areas: from one-third to 50% by 2040.
  • Planned openings for 2024: 25 additional stores.
  • target for 2030: double the number of stores.
  • Market share of convenience channel over the last five years: +0.5 point.
  • Decline in hypermarket market share : -2.6 points.
  • Supermarket market share down : -0.8 points.
Intermarché opens up to franchising - 10/12/2023
  • Groupement Les Mousquetaires aims to generate 5% of its sales from franchises.
  • It already has 248 Rapid Pare-Brise and 13 Bricorama franchises.
  • Les Mousquetaires has 3,165 outlets in France.
  • They generated sales of 42.9 billion euros in 2022.
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.

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. :

Fleury Michon
Auchan groupe
Intermarché ITM Les Mousquetaires
Bigard groupe
Les Salaisons Celtiques (les Mousquetaires Intermarché)

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