France’s 232 hectar wholesale market

Rungis: 12,000 employees and an intense work rhythm

Rungis Market, only a few kilometres from the capital is currently the world’s largest agricultural market, covering 232 hectares it is larger than the Principality of Monaco and almost a city of its own. Rungis has 12,000 employees and an intense work rhythm, starting just after midnight and continuing until late at night. It is renowned for it’s size as well as it’s ecological approach and energy management.

The market supplies all wholesalers in the Paris region (and beyond), in agricultural, dairy, meat, seafood and even horticultural products. The market serves 18 million Europeans, of which 12 million are French. It represents the most important market share in the fruit and vegetable sector with annual product arrivals reaching over 1.1 million tons, i.e. 69% of all products sold at Rungis. Meat comes in second place with 16%, followed by dairy and catered produce (9%) and seafood (6%). Rungis has over 6.5 million visitors a year, turnover reaches over €8 billion/year and the market is mainly reserved for wholesalers, although a small part is for retail trade.

Since opening their new 5,600m2 space for organic produce last February, Rungis also has the largest organic produce market in Europe. 

Rungis is very careful about the emission of polluting gases and all employees and wholesalers are required to use electric cars inside the market. As of next year, delivery of over 400,000 tons of rail produce will be delivered by electric lorries. The “Rungis Green Business” initiative which launched in 2013 allows them to use their waste for recycling (14,000 tons), incineration (29,000 tons) or biogas (4,500 tons). A sorting system has even been set up in the incineration factory allowing them to produce gas to heat Rungis’ buildings as well as Orly airport, neighbouring companies and private housing. Overall, the factory produces 200,000mWh of energy/year from the market’s waste.

Unsold produce is given to low-income families through their charity, “le Potager de Marianne”, which delivers 300 tons of food products/year free of charge and 400 tons are sold at very low prices (€1/kilo). The main products are fruit and vegetables, but an increasing amount of fish and dairy wholesalers are contributing. 

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