Summary of our market study

The French dairy products market is estimated at 18.50 billion euros in 2022.

The global dairy market, valued at €827.89 billion in 2022, is growing at an expected CAGR of 6.40% to 2030.

The French market follows this trend, with an increase in sales value from €15.83 billion in 2018 to €18.50 billion in 2022, despite a modest 1.83% drop in milk sales by volume between 2018 and 2022. Consumption patterns show that packaged milk, ultra-fresh products and cheese dominate, with average annual per capita consumption of 76.4 liters, 58.2 kg and 29.2 kg respectively.

French foreign trade in dairy products has also seen growth, with exports rising from €6.94 billion in 2018 to €8.87 billion in 2022. Imports, however, saw an even greater increase, rising from 4.02 billion euros in 2018 to 5.86 billion euros in 2022, resulting in a slight drop in the trade coverage ratio from 172.64% to 151.37%.

Since 2020, there has been a decline in demand for organic dairy products, demonstrated by a consecutive annual drop in organic milk and yoghurt purchases after 2018, of the order of -11% and -7% respectively.

Despite these challenges, the industry has shown adaptability with the introduction of plant-based alternatives and lactose-free products, with a 5% increase in sales of plant-based yoghurts between 2020 and 2022.

Dairy product consumption trends in France

While the overall value of dairy product sales rose, the volume of milk sales fell slightly by almost 2% over the same period. A scenario in which price rises in the dairy sector perhaps exceed the physical volume of products consumed by the population.

Despite these fluctuations, the French remain loyal consumers of dairy products, with packaged milk leading the way, with average annual per capita consumption of between 70 and 80 liters.

Ultra-fresh dairy products and cheeses account for the lion's share of consumption, with average consumption of around 50-60 kg and 25-30 kg per inhabitant per year respectively.

A decline has been observed in the volume of sales of organic products, ranging from around 5% to over 15% depending on the product. Organic dairy products such as animal milk and yoghurts, despite holding market shares ranging from around 4% to 9%, saw a sharp drop in purchases between 2016 and 2022.

The market is dominated by leaders such as La Laitière for yoghurts, Président for butter, and Boursin for cheese. For milk, Lactel is slightly ahead of Candia in terms of consumer preference.

The abolition of milk quotas in 2015 marked a major turning point in the industry, leading to an increase in milk production, but also intensifying competition, impacting prices, and prompting farmers to band together to better influence the market. Then the 2018 Egalim law aimed to improve farmers' remuneration, leading to a 10% increase in the value of contracts in downstream price negotiations.

Plant-based alternatives, such as yoghurts, saw moderate growth.

The big names in the dairy industry

  • Lactalis: a cheese giant
  • Danone: synonymous with health and well-being
  • Savencia: experts in milk and dairy products
  • Sodiaal: a cooperative group and a major player in the sector
  • La Laitière yogurt brand
  • Lactel
  • Candia

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Market overview and definition

Dairy products, also known as milk products, refer to food products derived from milk or made from it . Most of the time, these products are made from cow's milk, but other types of milk can also be used, such as raw goat's milk, sheep's milk, camel milk, yak milk, buffalo milk, etc., depending on the situation.

There are two product categories. On the one hand, finished products such as liquid milk, cheeses, creams, butters, yoghurts and dairy desserts, which are intended for mass consumption and out-of-home catering (canteens, hotels, etc.). On the other hand, there are intermediate products such as dry ingredients and products derived from milk, like milk powders or proteins, which are destined for the food industry.

Dairy products, at the heart of our daily diet, are renowned for their taste and nutritional qualities. The calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, proteins and vitamins they contain are essential for healthy growth, healthy bones and teeth, sports recovery, healthy intestinal flora and reduced cardiovascular risks.

The NAF codes concerned are

  • 10.51A "Manufacture of liquid milk and fresh products".
  • 10.51B "Manufacture of butter
  • 10.51C "Manufacture of cheese
  • 10.51D "Manufacture of other dairy products".

The global market is dynamic and growing, and should continue to do so over the next few years, with a CAGR of 6.40% up to 2030. The European Union is the world's leading producer of dairy products, with a market share of 35% in January 2024.

The French market has also been enjoying positive growth for several years, with sales increasing in value terms. However, a slight drop of 1.83% in volume sales is observed between 2018 and 2022, underlining an increase in prices for these products. Market professionals need to adapt to changes in demand and the various factors influencing the market, such as the availability of cow's milk.

1.2 A growing global market by 2030

The global dairy products market is dynamic and growing, valued at ***.** billion euros in ****, and should continue to do so until ****. Indeed, the global dairy products market is expected to reach $****.** billion in ****, with a CAGR of *.**% over the period ****-****.

Sales trends World, ****-****, in billions of dollars Source: ****

Global ...

1.3 French market sees sales increase in value terms

Market size trends for dairy products France, ****-****, in billions of euros Source: ****

Sales trends for the dairy products market in France between **** and **** reveal a positive trend, marked by steady growth over this period. Total sales have risen significantly, from €**.** billion in **** to €**.** billion in ****, an increase of **.**%

This steady ...

1.4 Trends in French foreign trade

Balance of trade in dairy products France, ****-****, in billions of euros Source: ****

Exports have grown steadily over this period, rising from €*.** billion in **** to €*.** billion in ****, an increase of **.**%.This increase underlines the competitiveness of French dairy products on the international market and their attractiveness to foreign consumers.

On the ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Profile of the French dairy consumer

Breakdown of milk purchases in volume by region France, ****, %, %, %, %, %, %, %, %, %, %, %, % Source: ****

The Western region stands out as the main milk consumer, accounting for **.*% of total purchases, followed by the Paris region with a **.*% share.

The Centre Est and Sud Est regions also show significant volumes, accounting for **.*% and **. *% of purchases respectively. On ...

2.2 Consumption of dairy products

Per capita consumption of dairy products per year France, ****, in kg or liters Source: ****

Per capita consumption of dairy products in France in **** varies according to product category. The data reveal thatpackaged milk is the most consumed dairy product, with an annual average of **.* liters per inhabitant. Ultra-fresh products follow closely ...

2.3 France's favorite dairy brands

Favorite yogurt brands :

Favorite yogurt brands France, February ****, in Source: ****

La Laitière dominates the market with an **.*% approval rating, closely followed by Danone and Yoplait, with scores of **.*% and **% respectively. These three brands clearly stand out from their competitors in terms of popularity with French consumers.

Brands such as Taillefine, ...

2.4 Declining demand for organic dairy products

The growth of organic products has been a major trend in the food industry in recent years, with organic dairy products occupying a prominent place among them. However, recent observation has revealed a noticeable drop in demand for these products. This decline in interest in organic dairy products is not an ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Value chain

Source: ****

The dairy value chain begins with the production of milk (***), or they may sell them directly to dairy product manufacturers.

Some manufacturers have to buy in from semi-finished product manufacturers, if they don't have the capacity to manufacture themselves certain products needed for the production of dairy products, such as ...

3.2 Number of companies and number of employees

Several NAF codes correspond to the various dairy products:

**.**A "Manufacture of liquid milk and fresh products **.**B "Manufacture of butter **.**C "Manufacture of cheese **.**D "Manufacture of other dairy products".

These different NAF codes are therefore taken into account in the data below.

Number of establishments producing dairy products France, ...

3.3 Distribution of dairy products mainly through supermarkets

Breakdown of sales volumes by distribution channel France, ****, % sales Source: ****

The breakdown of volume sales of dairy products by distribution channel in France in **** shows a clear predominance of generalist channels, accounting for the vast majority of shares in all product categories. Indeed, these generalist channels capture around **% of sales of ...

3.4 A market impacted by reduced availability of cow's milk

Cow's milk collection France, ****- ****, in billion liters Source: ****

Between **** and ****, cow's milk collection in France showed a stable trend overall, but with a slight decrease. Between **** and ****, there was a *% decrease in cow's milk collection. Dairy cow herd France, ****-****, in millions of cows Source: ****

The number of dairy cows ...

3.5 A concentrated market with Lactalis and Danone in the lead

The French dairy products market is highly competitive on a European and global scale, but relatively concentrated in France. Thetwo French giants, Lactalis and Danone , have been battlingit out through innovation and mergers & acquisitions, although Savencia and Sodiaal have achieved significant results.In ****, for example, Danone acquired Follow Your Heart, the ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 The different types of dairy products

Dairy products are made up of different products, the main ones being: packaged milk, i.e. milk in bottles; packaged cream, often in bricks; solid fats, ultra-fresh products and cheeses. All these products can be further segmented according to their different forms and tastes. The following table summarizes the different types ...

4.2 Price analysis

Trend in annual consumer prices for packaged milk France, ****, index Source: ****

The packaged milk price index, set at *** in ****, has risen to ***.* in ****. The increase was rather gradual from **** to ****, rising from *** to ***.*. Then there was a significant rise between **** and ****, with the index increasing by *.* points.

This steady increase reflects ...

4.3 Offer diversification through innovation

The dairy products market is a vast one, encompassing many products, both original and processed. One of the major challenges for alternative dairy brands is to succeed in diversifying their product offering to adapt to new demands.

Over the last ten years, the sector has undergone a veritable revolution, with the ...

5 Regulations

5.1 The abolition of milk quotas in 2015

Milk quotas, in force between **** and ****, were abolished on *st april ****. The aim of abolishing quotas is twofold. Firstly, it reflects the European Union's desire to disengage from the management of domestic agricultural markets. Prices, which will henceforth be deregulated, will be set according to the balance between supply and demand. ...

5.2 The Egalim Law in 2018

In October ****, a food law, known as Egalim, the result of the États généraux de l'alimentation, was passed. It aims for a better distribution of value between producers, industrialists and distributors, which requires "fair remuneration for farmers to enable them to live with dignity from their work" . In particular, ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation

  • Savencia Fromage & Dairy groupe
  • La Fermière
  • Even Groupe
  • Lactalis Groupe
  • Biolait
  • Laïta Regilait
  • Les Maitres Laitiers du Cotentin
  • Danone Groupe
  • Yoplait France (Sodiaal Groupe)
  • 56 le marché du lait et des produits laitiers en France
  • Sill Entreprises
  • LSDH Laiterie de Saint Denis de l'Hôtel - L'Abeille

List of charts presented in this market study

  • World milk production by country
  • Sales trend
  • Sales of milk by value
  • Sales volume of milk
  • Trends in the size of the dairy products market
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Latest news

Breton company Sill ready to take over Knorr liquid soups - 01/03/2024
  • Sill Entreprises generates sales of 640 million euros.
  • Its dairy business accounts for 400 million euros in sales.
  • The rest of its activities, including soups, account for 240 million euros, divided equally between frozen products and the vegetable business.
  • Sill's liquid soup brand, La Potagère, generates sales of 15 million euros.
  • Sill will hold second place in the French industrial soups market, with sales of over 65 million euros, while market leader Liebig has sales of 150 million euros.
  • The market for liquid soups fell by 7% in volume in 2023.
  • Sill employs 1,700 people at 9 sites, mainly in Brittany.
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.
Danone opens a second plant for plant-based products in France - 12/02/2024
  • Danone inaugurates a new plant dedicated to the manufacture of dairy alternatives in France
  • Danone has completely converted its Villecomtal-sur-Arros yogurt plant in the Gers department into a unit dedicated to Alpro-brand plant-based beverages. 43 million euros of investment
  • Production, mainly of oat juice cartons, is 90% destined for Europe.
  • Danone now has four milk-alternative production units in Europe. Two in France, at Issenheim and Villecomtal in the Gers region, one in Sweden, at Lunnarp, and the fourth at Wevelgem in Belgium.
  • Vegetable-based products have become "a strategic focus" for the world's number one in ultra-fresh products.
  • Danone took the t turn in 2017 with the $12.5 billion acquisition of US group WhiteWave.
  • In France, ultra-fresh products are deeply rooted in diets.
  • Plant milk accounts for just 4% of the traditional dairy products market by volume and 7.4% by value.
  • The plant-based milk market is worth 165 million euros, according to FranceAgriMer.
  • More than 6 out of ten people in France in the 18-24 age bracket eat plant-based products several times a week, according to lDanone
  • Many dairy groups, including Triballat, Nestlé and Bel, have chosen to develop plant-based ranges.
  • Retail chains are present under their own brands (MDD).
Suppliers refuse to accept Lactalis' proposed milk price increase - 05/02/2024
  • - The price revised in January by Lactalis is 405 euros per 1000 liters, increased to 420 euros per 1000 liters in 38/32 for February.
  • - Taking all premiums into account, the remuneration paid to producers was 460 euros per 1000 liters for the first two months of the year.
  • - Unell, which represents over 4,000 dairy farms, delivers over 2 billion liters of milk to Lactalis.
Danone finds buyers for its two organic brands in the United States - 02/01/2024
  • Platinum Equity's portfolio of assets totals $47 billion.
  • The two brands Horizon Organic and Wallaby accounted for around 3% of Danone's sales in 2022, or $800 million.
  • Dairy products make up a large part of Danone's sales.
  • Danone has sold various parts of its business in different countries, including yoghurts in China and fresh dairy products in Brazil.
  • Danone recorded eight quarters of growth thanks to price increases, although volumes remained stable.
  • Danone succeeded in halting a steady decline in dairy sales that had lasted since 2015.
Danone sells its US organic dairy business to Platinum Equity - 02/01/2024
  • Danone has signed an agreement to sell its US organic dairy business to Platinum Equity.
  • The sale concerns the Horizon Organic and Wallaby businesses.
  • By 2022, Horizon Organic and Wallaby represented around 3% of Danone's total sales.

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. :

Savencia Fromage & Dairy groupe
La Fermière
Even Groupe
Lactalis Groupe
Laïta Regilait
Les Maitres Laitiers du Cotentin
Danone Groupe
Yoplait France (Sodiaal Groupe)
56 le marché du lait et des produits laitiers en France
Sill Entreprises
LSDH Laiterie de Saint Denis de l'Hôtel - L'Abeille

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