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The Rise of Hyperlocal and Organic in France in 2020


Clodagh Murphy - Global Graduate France, Belgium & Luxembourg, Bord Bia

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In 2020, the ongoing health crisis brought the world to near standstill virtually changing overnight our habits and daily routines. More than ever our health became at the forefront of people’s minds. This has led to a change in consumption habits in retail with shoppers making a more conscious effort to take care of their health. With business and travel brought to a halt, focus has turned toward a shorter circuits to boost the local economy and reducing one’s impact on the environment. This has thus led to a rise gastronomic nationalism and the reinforcement of trends in retail such as hyper local and organic.  


If we focus on the French market in this instance, Responsible consumption has been important for consumers for a while and has been reinforced since the pandemic. 91 %(+1 point year on year) of French people surveyed in 2020 claim to buy ‘responsible’ products once a month and 68% once a week. [1] Moreover, 73% of French consider that the health crisis has pushed them toward more responsible purchasing habits, especially when it comes to food.


In response to these rising trends in 2020, retailers and the government have responded alike. For example, Carrefour have launched their ‘zero kilometre’ initiative allowing each individual store to create simple contracts with nearby producers to promote hyper local circuits. This focuses mainly on fruit and vegetables with them now promising to use only French origin fruit and vegetables where possible.[1] Similar initiatives were taken by nearly all major French retailers such as Auchan, Intermarché and Systeme U.[2]


Furthermore the French government are advocating for people to choose local aiming to grow short-circuit consumption from 10% to 25% in 5 years. They therefore launched a platform in 2021 allowing French people to locate their local producers and to buy from them directly. [3]


Organic products, which have a limited presence in foodservice benefitted from sales in supermarkets and were up to 20 points higher than conventional products. In this period during which the consumer needed to be reassured about the origin and quality of their food, organic products were favoured and won over 8% of new buyers. It must be noted however that during the first confinement, there were a lot of shortages due to panic buying which thus led to temporary changes in product purchases. [4]More and more consumers are gradually choosing this category with 97.1% of French people now buying organic at least once a year, a growth of 1 point compared to 2018.[5]


Will we see a decrease in sales in organic in 2021? The rise in sales during the pandemic was influenced by many factors and stabilised shortly after lockdown and is therefore hard to say at this stage what effects the pandemic will have on organic sales in the future. Nevertheless, judging the growth of this category over the past 5 years, one can expect that sales should continue to rise steadily.


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The push for local and sustainable food has become more apparent on the French market following the health crisis and could become a challenge for Irish producers entering the market in 2021. This trend however has been coupled with a growth in demand for organic, a category in which Irish producers could possibly consider to gain an edge over competitors in market. Additionally, the lean towards healthy and sustainable produce is apparent and ensure an optimal sustainable business practice and to echo this in their messaging and USPs.




[1] Bachelier, P., 2021. Consommation Responsable : Les GMS Chahutées Par Les Autres Circuits. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 January 2021].

[1]  Méhats-Démazure, B., 2021. Carrefour Lance Kilomètre Zéro Pour Séduire Les Producteurs Locaux. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 January 2021].

[2] DECLAIRIEUX, B., 2021. Auchan, U Ou Intermarché Ne Jurent Plus Que Par Le Produit Local. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 20 January 2021].

[3] Marchand, N., 2021. Plus De 8000 Points De Vente Recensés | Fraisetlocal.Fr : Lancement D’Une Plateforme Pour Favoriser Les Achats À La Ferme. [online] Les Marchés : le média des acheteurs et vendeurs de produits alimentaires. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 January 2021].

[4] 2021. Pleinchamp. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 20 January 2021].

[5] Beautru, A., 2021. Le Bio : La Bouée De Sauvetage Des Hypermarchés. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 January 2021].