France’s agri-food industry continues to shine with R&D and innovations

P Atkinson - 03/12/19

Agri-food is France’s largest industrial sector with 61,000 businesses, 570,000 personnel and annual revenues of €185 billion. However, the industry is not resting on its laurels, and French agri-food professionals are innovating across the industry.

In France, 69% of the agri-food industry innovates, a figure which is 9 points higher than the average for the country’s manufacturing industries (INSEE, CIS survey). France boasts a strong R&D ecosystem, and is home to INRA, IRSTEA, and The French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), as well as 15 agro-industrial technical institutes, The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), and 11 innovation clusters.

 

R&D & Innovative change

The results of this rich R&D environment are being felt throughout the country. In the last 10 years, foreign investment projects in agri-food have increased by 77%[1], and the country has seen a move towards organic farming & smart food.

The industry is modernising and continually adapting to demand. For example, the Digital Farming Association brings together innovative players from the agricultural industry. These include Weenat, supplier and manager of meteorological and agricultural information through connected sensors; Naïo, whose agricultural robots help farmers weed, hoe and harvest in an environmentally friendly way; and Carbon Bee, which has developed a hyperspectral camera for agricultural drones.

 

Growing organic

France has the largest agricultural area in Europe (29 million hectares) and is Europe’s top agricultural producer, thus is considered a leader in the agri-food industry worldwide. From 2015 to 2018, the organic food market in France grew by 64%, and is the 2nd largest in Europe, worth €9.7 billion in 2018. In late 2018, there were 61,768 farms involved in organic farming, representing 14.3% jump from 2017. French organic exports, valued at €707 million, grew by 12% in 2017.[2]

 

Smart food choices at the fore

Many innovative projects have already emerged under the “smart food choices” banner, which focuses on new, sustainable forms of food. Examples include the Algolife algae production and processing facility and the success of Novolyze, recognized for its innovation and expertise in the food safety market.

 

French innovations on show at Food Ingredients Europe

Food Ingredients Global trade fairs are key dates in the calendar for in the food and beverage industry for professionals around the world, and so French exhibitors are a key presence at these events to meet premier suppliers and buyers. At Food Ingredients Europe in Paris this week over 100 French companies will showcase their most innovative culinary products. 

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The Food and Drinks Department (Pôle Agrotech) facilitates trade between France and the UK by enabling French food and drink companies to develop their export strategy in relation to the British market, and British companies to identify French business partners or source specific French products. In an effort to capitalise on international trade opportunities, the Department provides clients with key information on the British market, tailored consultancy advice, and assistance in canvassing British distributors and potential business partners. The Department regularly organises themed B2B events, which represent unique networking opportunities and an ideal platform for French companies to exhibit their products to interested buyers. Besides this, a range of individual partnering services is also available. The activity of the department is divided into three sub-groups to cover the food, drink and farming machinery sectors. Food and Drinks Department Olivi

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