More than two thirds of French people claim to consume organic products at least once a month. Consumer specialist Olivier Dauvers carried out a study, using data from the specialized company IRI, to find out in which departments consumers bought the most organic products and whether this correlated with the purchasing power.
The study shows that the departments where the most organic products are consumed are Paris (8% of the purchases at large retailers), the Hauts-de-Seine (6.5%), Hautes-Alpes (5.9%), Haute-Savoie (5.8%) and Alpes-Maritimes (5.6%).
Four of these departments are among the wealthiest in France. It is worthy to note the presence of the Hautes-Alpes, a rural department where incomes are clearly lower than the national average. Its high organic consumption could be explained by the fact that local farmers have massively converted to the AB label. In the Hautes-Alpes, more than 27% of the cultivated land is dedicated to organic production, compared to 6.5% for the national average.
The study notes that the departments which consume the least are areas that have undergone a major deindustrialization for the past 50 years and where agriculture has less impact than in other regions. This is the case of the Aisne (1.8%) and the Pas-de-Calais (1.9%).
The average of purchased organic products reaches nearly 5% in the “wealthy” departments, compared to 3.4% in the “poorer” departments.
“The market share for organic products is higher in wealthier departments, and it is also where it progresses the most,” explains Olivier Dauvers. “Organic consumption also increases in the less wealthy departments, but a lot slower. In other words, the consumption of organic products is not about to homogenize in France, quite the opposite.”
The purchasing power seems to be an important element for the consumption of organic products, but it is not the only factor. Wealthy households seem more sensitive to new consumer trends. Reducing meat consumption or eating more products without pesticides are new habits that are more easily adopted by the upper class. “It might indeed be a question of awareness and open-mindedness on these issues,” says Olivier Dauvers. “But this is not easy to measure.”