Summary of our market study

The French baby food market, valued at around 1.2 billion euros,

Global growth in the infant milk market is driven by strong demand from China, where parents place great trust in foreign brands, particularly after the 2008 milk scandal.

The global market is highly concentrated, dominated by giants such as Danone and Nestlé, which together account for 80% of the world market.

In France, the overall performance of key brands is good, but the falling birth rate is affecting market dynamics. According to Euromonitor, the French market, a major consumer of infant formulas, is set to experience an average annual decline of 0.9% by 2024.

Confidence in brands remains an essential factor in consumer choice, particularly after incidents such as the salmonella scandal at Lactalis.

Prices are on the rise.

French infant nutrition exports have grown considerably, mainly to countries such as Algeria and China. Demand for products with the "made in France" label also supports this trend.

Trends and dynamics in the French infant nutrition market

The French baby food market, valued at around 1.2 billion euros, is influenced by demographic changes, cultural practices and consumer preferences, with a gradual decline in the number of births to around 730,000 per year. The consumer base is shrinking.

The market is divided into two segments: infant formulas, valued at €980 million and accounting for approximately 63% of the market, and diversification foods such as compotes, purées and yogurts, which account for approximately €220 million or 37%.

One of the trends in the French market is the growing popularity of organic baby food, which is growing by 30% a year. The organic segment now represents over 15% of the market. This is reflected in the product range of both Danone and Nestlé, and organic specialists such as HiPP and Vitagermine.

Another major problem facing the market is that of trust. following scandals such as the 2008 contaminated milk scandal in China and the more recent Lacatalis scandal in France, consumer confidence has become paramount.

The distribution channels for baby food are mainly supermarkets and hypermarkets, which account for 90% of infant milk sales. Pharmacies account for a smaller but significant share, due to the positive health perception associated with their products. Online sales, while still marginal, are growing year on year.

Strict regulations govern the French market. Preservatives, colorants, artificial hormones, sweeteners and certain pesticides are strictly regulated or banned outright, and any health-related communication must be backed up by solid research and approved by the European authorities.

Dominant generalist multinationals

  • Danone and Nestlé have established themselves as market leaders in France and internationally. Their extensive product portfolios, constant innovation and considerable market share make them influential trendsetters in the industry.

The pioneers of organic food:

  • Companies like HiPP and Vitagermine have experienced dynamic growth in this booming market segment.

Pediatric nutrition specialists:

  • A subset of the market is occupied by companies whose primary mission is children's health and nutrition. Nutriset, Gilbert Laboratories and Nutriben, to name but a few, provide specialist knowledge in child health.

Dairy cooperatives and local production centers:

  • Organizations like Sodiaal highlight their cooperative model and commitment to quality from their community of dairy farmers.

Influential food retailers:

  • Companies such as Bio c'Bon, Carrefour and Leclerc represent key distribution channels
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Presentation and definition of the baby food market

The infant nutrition market covers all food products for infants and children. This market is divided into 2 main segments:

  • Infant milk;
  • Dietary diversification foods, generally introduced after an infant's 6th month.

The health and nutritional challenges associated with infant nutrition are essential components of the market, both in terms of marketing and the regulations governing the activity.

The global baby food market is largely dominated by the US and China (a particularly promising market). France ranked seventh in terms of revenues generated in 2018.

The French infant nutrition market is dominated by two giants with around 80% of the global market share: Danone and Nestlé. The infant milk segment accounts for over half of the market. Alongside these two major players, more local companies are trying to survive, despite the market concentration of recent years. Private labels, which have to contend with the weakness of their own brands, which are less reassuring to parents, play a moderate role.

The market is largely linked to the country's demographic and cultural situation, such as birth rates, breast-feeding practices and new consumer habits. For example, the high level of trust placed in major brands, or the boom in the"organic" segment.

1.2 A global market driven by Chinese demand

Global revenues from the baby food industry are expected to exceed US$*** billion by ****, thanks to growth of *.**%.

sales trends in the baby food industry World, ****-****, US$ billion Source: ****

China is the world's largest baby food market, with sales of over $** billion.the Chinese market is proving to be the ...

1.3 The French market, a major player in infant milk

The French infant nutrition market is estimated to exceed US$* billion in ****, thanks to a CAGR of *. *% over the period. However, these growth forecasts need to be put into perspective, given the decline in the number of births in the country. The French market will therefore necessarily shrink in quantity, but ...

1.4 Foreign trade

The results presented below are based on UN Comtrade data corresponding to HS code ******: "Food preparations of flour, groats, meal, starch, malt extract or milk products; for children's consumption, put up for retail sale"Food preparations of flour, groats, meal, starch, malt extracts or dairy products; for children's food, packaged for ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Practicality and trust, key issues

The graph below shows the different purchasing criteria and their importance in the infant food purchasing process by parents. Confidence is the second most important criterion, followed by the availability of special offers (***).

As a result of social change, the average age of parents continues to rise steadily. The hectic pace ...

2.2 A market affected by declining demographics

The curve below shows the evolution of the total number of births in France from **** to ****. There will be a gradual decline in the number of births, reaching ***,*** in ****.

A structural decline in the birth rate can be observed in France, where the fertility rate has been set at *.** in ****. This ...

2.3 The increasingly popular "organic" segment

Ludovic Aujogue, Marketing Director at Nestlé Nutrition Infantile declared in **** that "the organic trend is an underlying trend and our desire is to meet all the expectations of all parents."[***]

evolution of the organic share of the baby food market France, ****, % Source: ****

Companies specializing in this market segment, such as HiPP ...

3 Market structure

3.1 A highly concentrated market

This statistic shows a ranking of baby or junior food brands in France from **** to ****, by number of users. In ****, an estimated one million people used Blédina. The Blédina and Nestlé brands clearly dominate the market, accounting for over **% of sales in France. These sales are boosted by the ...

3.2 The importance of brand trust

When it comes to food, consumers are particularly attentive to the quality of the products on offer, and to the brand of the product in question. This is particularly the case when food is destined for a fragile segment of the population, such as infants.

As we saw with the events ...

3.3 Production

Source: ****

3.4 Distribution

The distribution of food products is stillvia supermarkets and hypermarkets. In the case of infant milk, this accounts for **% of sales, with the remaining **% sold in pharmacies.pharmacieswhich benefit from a positive "health" signal on the products they sell.

Breakdown of infant milk sales by distribution channel France, ****, in Source: ****

Pharmacy ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Rising prices

The market's oligopolistic structure,product renewal with the rise of organic products, and consumers' concern for quality explain the rising prices and high margins in this market segment. For example, Nestlé nutrition's gross margin stood at **.*% in ****, the highest of all branches). [***]

The prices charged depend to a lesser extent on ...

4.2 Three main product categories

The products offered on the baby food market can be divided into three categories:

Infant formulas and baby milks: these include infant formulas (***), special milks and growing-up milks. For example: Gallia

Gallia Calisma Relais Lait *er Âge ***g(***) ; Nan Optipro * *er âge Lait Poudre ***g(***); Guigoz Lait *er âge(***).

Infant cereals: ...

4.3 New industry trends

While the market is shrinking, mainly in terms of quantities sold, the industry is betting on innovation to create growth in value. The latest trend is vegetarian baby food. In fact, baby nutrition products are tending to follow adult food trends (***), as parents are keen to educate their children in the ...

5 Regulations

5.1 A strict sanitary framework

The need to ensure quality food is a major issue for the sector, as it is the primary concern of parent-customers. And the various scandals sometimes tarnish a reputation that manufacturers then try to recuperate. Just recently, Lactalis was accused by several parents of being responsible for cases of salmonellosis following ...

5.2 ISO standards

The baby food market is one of the most regulated, because the products marketed are intended for some of the most vulnerable populations. It is therefore of interest to know which ISO standards are in force, and which nutritional labelling must be carried out in accordance with the Codex Alimentarus.

These ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation

  • Nespresso (Nestlé)
  • HiPP
  • Vitagermine
  • Nutriset
  • Laboratoires Gilbert (GILBERT Groupe)
  • Nutriben (Alter Pharmacia)
  • Sodilac (Groupe Savencia)
  • Even Groupe
  • Sodiaal Groupe (Coopérative)
  • General Mills
  • Babybio Vitagermine
  • Abbott Groupe
  • Good Goût (H&M group)
  • Blédina (Danone)
  • Gerber (Neslé groupe)
  • Gallia Laboratoire Bledina
  • Guigoz (Nestlé)
  • Lemiel (Lactalis Nutrition)
  • Materna (Lact'Union)
  • Milupa
  • Nestlé Nidal
  • Picot (Lactalis)
  • Potpotam
  • Youji
  • Nümi

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Baby food sales trend
  • Birth trends
  • Frequency of infant food consumption
  • Criteria for parents' infant food purchases
  • Evolution of the organic share of the baby food market
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Latest news

A2S and Sovéfrais merge to form So Breizh | A2S and Sovéfrais merge to form So Breizh - 01/03/2024 Even Distribution merges two companies, SovéFrais and A2S, to create So Breizh. So Breizh is based in two locations: Ploudaniel (Finistère) and Kervignac (Morbihan). The company specializes in the distribution of fresh and frozen produce. The Even Distribution cooperative relies on Krill, a network of 8 SME suppliers, including Gastronomie Service, Gel 43, Prenot Guinard and So Breizh. So Breizh has two order preparation warehouses, 7 delivery outlets and a fresh meat cutting plant. The company serves 5,000 catering and convenience store customers. So Breizh has sales of 97 million euros.
Nespresso wants to make its coffee pods greener - 05/01/2024
  • Thirty-seven years ago, Nestlé launched the Nespresso concept.
  • The Swiss giant dominates the world of small coffee pods.
  • Last year, the market approached the 4 billion euro mark in France, up 10% year-on-year and even 17% by 2021.
  • New competitors, such as Switzerland's Migros with its Café royal brand, and the rise of bean-to-cup machines,
  • Nespresso has invested in a pilot line of compostable paper capsules. In Switzerland, the rate of recycled capsules is already approaching 70%.
  • For the moment, these compostables are only available in France and Switzerland
Nespresso steps up its support for Café Joyeux - 30/11/2023
  • Café Joyeux has managed to grow at an unhoped-for rate since its launch 6 years ago, while its team members with mental and cognitive disabilities, in particular Down's syndrome or autism spectrum, will number nearly 170 by the end of the year
  • Nespresso' s support acts as a gas pedal for this not-for-profit company
  • Café Joyeux employs 300 people, not counting volunteers.
  • It is present in 17 locations, including three outside France, in Belgium and Portugal.
  • The next openings are scheduled for Saint-Philippe-du-Roule in Paris in January, followed by Marseille, Strasbourg and Angers. s the fight against food insecurity
  • Café Joueux has installed its own-brand coffee references at Carrefour, on the shelves of some 800 convenience stores and 36 hypermarkets.

Faced with global crises, Nutriset's Normandy plant is running at full capacity - 25/11/2023
  • nutriset, specialist in therapeutic foods for malnourished populations
  • Nutriset's customers are mainly the World Food Program, UNICEF and NGOs such as Médecins sans Frontières and Action contre la Faim
  • Sales of 160,372,000 euros in 2022
  • Production of 48,000 tonnes in 2021 and 87,000 tonnes in 2023.
  • Hiring of 140 new employees, in addition to the existing 250
  • Nutriset has a network of independent franchised producers in Africa, India, Haiti and the United States.


Nūmi, the biotech company that invents a cellular substitute for infant milk - 09/11/2023
  • Nūmi is a start-up offering an innovative alternative solution: milk produced by cell culture.
  • Nūmi's technology involves taking cells from mammary glands, placing them in a culture medium to proliferate, and then recovering the milk produced.
  • Nūmi is the result of a meeting between Eden Banon-Lagrange, formerly of Entrepreneur First, and Eugénie Pezé-Heidsieck, a specialist in cell biology.
  • The market for milk produced by cell culture is in its embryonic stage, with Danone as one of the main interested parties.
  • Nūmi was founded in 2023 and is currently in the R&D phase.
  • The start-up has raised three million euros in pre-seed funding from Investors Heartcore Capital, HCVC and Financière Saint-James.
  • Nūmi plans to increase staff to six
  • The start-up plans to develop a first product for infants aged 0-6 months and sell it to dairy and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
  • Nūmi plans to move quickly towards industrialization and is considering raising further funds.
  • The start-up is primarily targeting the American market, due to shorter maternity leave than in Europe and authorities more open to cell biology.
Sodiaal launches a campaign to support its Candia, Yoplait and Entremont brands - 09/09/2023

Coopérative Sodiaal brings together three major brands: Candia, Yoplait and Entremont. The cooperative brings together 16,000 farmers in 72 départements. The three brands are present in 9 out of 10 households.

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. :

Nespresso (Nestlé)
Laboratoires Gilbert (GILBERT Groupe)
Nutriben (Alter Pharmacia)
Sodilac (Groupe Savencia)
Even Groupe
Sodiaal Groupe (Coopérative)
General Mills
Babybio Vitagermine
Abbott Groupe

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