For a few years, the french organic market has known a notable growth but it is still not enough to convince french people. Nowadays organic products represents only 5% of the french household’s monthly food expenses.
The most consumed products are vegetables, whose production increased by 24% in 2018 as well as fruits with 20% and wines with 20%.
What are the main barriers that still deter French consumers from adopting organic products on a daily basis ?
Organic food is too expensive
Breeding and growing conditions tend to double or even quadruple prices. This is mainly due to production costs but also distribution costs which are much higher for organic farmers and ranchers than traditional ones.
On the one hand, rearing cattle takes more time and needs more space and on the other hand vegetables and fruits are grown in a more reasonable and sustainable way. All of these agricultural prices are expensive and have a direct impact on the consumer’s receipt.
However, some recommendations make it possible to relieve the bill : eating less meat, cooking raw products rather than buying prepared dishes and batch-cooking.
Too many labels
What is the difference between the AB logo and the little green leaf, certificate of the European Union ? What do the other labels correspond to? What are the conditions for obtaining an organic label ? Are supermarkets organic products as good as those you can find in an organic shop ?
The transparency of labels can be a significant brake for consumers who are more and more stuck on product traceability. How can you trust a label whose specifications often vary and become more flexible ?
The intensive farming
If some measures - such as not being able to find certified organic tomatoes in winter on our shelves - reach the eyes and ears of the consumer, others are hidden.
For example, the organic egg sector is experiencing a huge gap between the initial proposal - buildings accommodating up to 3,000 laying hens - and the reality - buildings sometimes hosting up to 50,000 hens.
Organic : not enough?
When the intensive production meets the needs of consumers, it requires the export of products that are not always seasonal (57% of organic fruit consumed in France are imported) such as exotic fruits. Here we come up against the problem of the local and ecological values.
Does an organic product have value in the eyes of consumers if it does not respect a minimum of the environment and the men who cultivate it ? With labels like Demeter, synthetic pesticides are banned whereas traditional organic labels still allow them. The Nature et Progrès label protects local farmers and promotes solidarity.
In addition, French households remain wary of organic products, despite the slow and gradual adoption of eggs, vegetables, and in another register, cosmetics. If mass distribution still takes the lion's share thanks to unbeatable prices, the trend of "think and consume local" should gradually overturn the chessboard in 2020.