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So French, so good ! France adds zest to its gourmet exports !
Interview : Christophe MONNIER, the expert for the Gourmet sector at UBIFRANCE
What else could you expect from France, where gastronomic quality is so vital? Yet cultivating taste buds the world over also pays off in economic terms; French Gourmet as a sector is worth 7 Billion Euros, covering 250 categories, amounting to 16% of the French food industry’s total exports. 1200 companies, 90% of them SMEs, are actively seeking and opening up export markets.
What French people consider as “typical”, the rest of the world perceives as symbolizing culinary art that can only be “Made in France.” Christophe Monnier, the expert for the Gourmet sector at UBIFRANCE, describes a high-end market with a broad range of dynamic diversity. He starts with baked goods, biscuits and chocolate, accounting for 50% of French gourmet exports. In the vast feast of consumables to be delighted in, two characteristically French trends stand out. First, there is an absolute respect for authentic flavor and tradition – neatly summed up by the French word terroir. Each gourmet product has its unique story, and that is how they need to be marketed. Secondly, with health concerns and awareness coming to the fore, carefully prepared organic and eco-friendly brands coming from France engender recognition and trust all around the world.
Major players in the gourmet sector like Valrhona (high quality chocolates), Rougie (famous French foie gras), Bridor (French bakery), Boirons (fruit and vegetable coulis) and many other French companies are learning to be more reactive in providing service for their foreign accounts, to be more organized in responding to demanding foreign markets, in following up on orders quickly. Reliable logistics is the name of the game. Experts at UBIFRANCE like Christophe Monnier help up to 830 prospecting companies leverage their efforts in such programs as Saveurs de France, where French exporters demonstrate their know-how in new markets, such as in Latin America or in Asia. He also sets up highly selective – and profitable -- encounters with Purchasing Agents.
Naturally, French suppliers devote their greatest effort to the French domestic market, eventually moving on to satisfy demand in French-speaking zones. Yet growth in 2013 was hard to come by in countries such as Switzerland (0.4%) and Belgium (4.2%), which offer relatively saturated outlets. Encouraged by the French emigration to London, more intrepid companies crossed the channel to the UK (8.9%). The companies in the know moved beyond these traditional markets. This is where double-digit sparks fly, with Austria (17.1%) and Russia (13.5%) providing substantial growth in 2013. In fact, the further exporters go, the bigger the rewards are. In Asia, China weighed in at 33.3%, Singapore at 14.3% and Hong Kong at 12.8% growth. As far as the Middle East is concerned, companies marketing gourmet to Dubai and Saudi Arabia were rewarded by a growth rate of more than 20%.
According to Mr. Monnier, there are three prestigious showcases for French talent. He mentions SIAL and EUROPAIN known to be venues where deals get done, especially for consumer products. The ultimate culinary event has to be the Cuisine Summit at SIRHA in Lyon. All the French know-how is mobilized to create an exceptional experience in 40,000 square meters, capped by the prestigious prize, the “Bocuse d’Or”, a televised cooking competition among the world’s most renowned chefs representing their countries. Only creative excellence, fabulous ingredients and culinary brio stand a chance of winning!
Further information about French companies – Gourmet Sector :
> Bakery, Grocery, Baked Goods, Miscellaneous