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Sector Trend Analysis - Shellfish Products Trends in France

June 2017

Sector Trend Analysis - Shellfish Products Trends in France (PDF Version, 470KB) | Help with downloadable formats

Contents

Executive summary

France is a major market for seafood, with one of the highest levels of per capita seafood consumption in Europe (37 kilograms per year), a population of more than 65 million, and domestic production well below consumption.  Domestic shellfish production meets only about 65% of French consumer demand.  

France is a major consumer and net importer of many shellfish products. In 2016, France imported C$660.3 million worth of shellfish from the world; of which, 10,013 metric tonnes worth $C250.0 million was frozen scallops.

According to Global Trade Tracker data, France imported 31.1 million of shellfish from Canada in 2016.  By value, Canada, with a 4.7% market share, was the ninth largest supplier and 95% of shellfish supplied were scallops. The Canadian shellfish products are considered to be of superior quality, in terms of both sizes available and product quality.

Overall, French demand for seafood remains high but declines in consumer purchasing power have led consumers to be more cautious about spending.  According to Euromonitor's recent data, total volume sales of processed fish and seafood in France decreased by 0.3% in 2016 to 312,800 metric tonnes (MT), however at the same time the value of processed fish and seafood sold increased by 5%, reaching US$3.1 billion in 2016. Sales of other high-value priced products (like lobster, scallops and monkfish) at retail and foodservice saw the largest increases.  

According to the Market Assessment of Opportunities and Challenges in the European Union (EU) report, shellfish in France have been identified as one of the most promising market opportunity in the EU. Through a rigorous analysis of the market size, growth, and tariff reductions of the EU imports, France represented an ideal opportunity for Canadian shellfish and other seafood products exporters.

Consumption

France represents a considerable consumer market. The country's population hovers around 65 million in 2016, and continues to grow at a yearly rate of around 0.5%. According to projections by Eurostat, the French population will reach 70 million by 2045. France is also the most popular tourist destination in the world and welcomes over 80 million foreign visitors per year.

The French gastronomic heritage makes the French consumer an educated one. French cuisine is one of the finest in Europe; cooking fish and seafood, is deeply rooted in the culinary tradition in coastal regions of France and well entrenched in the French culture and lifestyle.

Traditionally, price has been an essential element in the food buying process of French consumers. However, quality is becoming increasingly important, as a growing number of French consumers tend to favour products with a quality label or brand. French consumers prefer neat and tightly packaged products that are creative and eye-catching.

Sales of fish and seafood by category in France: total volume 2011-2016 (000 tonnes)
Category 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Fish and Seafood (total) 315.4 321.7 317.6 317.4 313.8 312.8
Fish 186 193.4 187.9 184.3 179.5 178.9
Molluscs and Cephalopods 111.1 110.6 112.6 115.5 116.2 115.5
Crustaceans 18.3 17.7 17.1 17.5 18 18.5
Source: Euromonitor, 2017
Sales of fish and seafood by category in France: total volume 2011-2016 in US$ in million
Category 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Fish and Seafood (total) 2,850.8 3,015.3 3,055.8 3,048.0 3,012.5 3,161.8
Fish 2,080.8 2,230.8 2,240.8 2,203.8 2,168.5 2,284.2
Molluscs and Cephalopods 571.3 586.2 616.8 629.0 641.7 649.0
Crustaceans 198.8 198.3 198.3 215.2 202.2 228.6
Source: Euromonitor, 2017
Sales of fish and seafood by packaged versus unpackaged: % Total volume 2013-2015
% retail volume 2013 2014 2015
Packaged 22.1 21.5 21.6
Unpackaged 77.9 78.5 78.4
Total 100 100 100
Source: Euromonitor, 2017

Consumer attitudes

France is a major market for seafood. According to France Agrimer's annual report, total per capita consumption of fish and seafood was estimated at 36.8 kilograms (kg) in 2016. This number is based on live weight catch and national population numbers.

According to Euromonitor, the consumers who eat seafood the most are the older age groups. This is because they generally have less budgetary restraints, better cooking skills, more time for cooking and care more about a healthy diet.

The Mintel survey on fish and seafood consumption confirms the same trend, showing that in the last five last years in France, the older consumers are the ones who consume the most seafood. Among those over 45 years, 43% consume two portions a week, whereas only 32% of consumers between 18 and 34 years old consume two portions per week.

Agrimer's report notes that the association between fish consumption and healthy lifestyle differed slightly between men and women in France. Fish consumption among women was positively associated with other foods considered healthy (e.g., root vegetables, chicken, and berries), as well as with other healthy lifestyle factors (e.g. exercise).

Frequency of protein type consumption at least once a week by gender in France in 2016
Type Male Female
Poultry 58 65
Beef 59 53
Pork 61 52
Seafood 48 51
Source: Agrimer 2017

French consumers have become more aware of healthy diets and many are increasingly trying to eat balanced meals. Consequently, there has been greater demand for seafood products, and most supermarkets offer a wide range of fish and seafood.

In addition, Seafood and specifically shellfish products demand is strong within the French hotel and restaurant sector due to strong domestic appreciation and the high volume of tourism.  France remains a leading tourist destination worldwide, receiving an average of 80 million visitors yearly. According to Euromonitor, tourist spending, both international and domestic, played a major role in sustaining the hotels and restaurants activities in France.

Market sizes

France has the third highest consumption per capita of seafood in Europe after Italy and Spain. This stood at 36.8 kg in 2016 (26.5 fish and 10.3 shellfish). The total comparable figure for 2010 was 35.7kg, showing a slight long-term rise. The average consumption per capita consisted of 57% wild fish, 11% farmed fish, 15% shellfish and 17% farmed shellfish.

Household expenditure on seafood in France in 2016
Type Expenditure
Fresh 33%
Canned 15%
Frozen 21%
Chilled/delicatessen 31%
Source: Agrimer 2017
Historic processed seafood value sales by category in France in US$ in million
Category 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Processed seafood (total) 3,692.7 3,738.2 3,755.8 3,710.2 3,777.0 3,848.8
Shelf stable seafood 1,002.3 1,031.3 1,073.6 1,065.0 1,079.9 1,094.6
Chilled processed seafood 2,189.6 2,192.5 2,150.8 2,127.2 2,188.9 2,250.4
Frozen processed seafood 500.8 514.4 531.3 518.1 508.2 503.9
Source: Euromonitor 2017

Shellfish market

The French are major consumers of shellfish (mussels, scallops and oysters) . French fisheries dos not produce enough to supply the domestic market, which makes it an attractive market for exporters.

According to Global Trade Tracker data, France imported C$660.3 million (up 2.5% over 2015) and 103.0 MT (up 2.3%) of shellfish in 2016.  By value, the United Kingdom (UK), with a 16.1% market share, was the leading supplier of shellfish products to France. Canada ranked the ninth largest supplier with 4.7% market share and exports values reaching C$31.1 million.

Top ten suppliers of fresh, frozen and processed shellfish to France by value in C$ (based on French imports data)
Rank Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Market share % in 2016
N/A World 558,377,196 581,076,568 616,925,584 643,996,928 660,333,244 100.0%
1 United Kingdom 89,511,688 109,114,045 99,850,491 107,769,650 106,176,128 16.1%
2 Peru 59,575,787 68,294,460 87,777,265 79,756,394 70,313,507 10.6%
3 Ireland 41,225,878 50,104,182 50,083,049 45,205,085 54,220,235 8.2%
4 Spain 28,745,204 27,107,361 31,067,628 35,308,798 49,462,264 7.5%
5 Netherlands 42,927,115 43,647,447 38,793,234 44,509,042 47,619,078 7.2%
6 United States 64,676,622 52,565,089 41,582,419 37,746,732 40,797,303 6.2%
7 Chile 36,092,482 29,518,394 34,950,598 43,139,579 37,769,125 5.7%
8 Argentina 51,183,143 35,989,378 37,989,570 42,369,517 35,749,186 5.4%
9 Canada 26,871,237 40,006,931 42,955,872 43,778,081 31,170,251 4.7%
10 Russian Federation 12,648 0.0 393,725 13,628,055 17,888,191 2.7%
Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017
Not applicable (N/A)

Although, France produces an average of 200,000 metric tonnes (MT) of shellfish annually according to Agrimer, this is not enough to satisfy France consumer appetite for shellfish products. Mussels and oysters represent 39.0% and 38.2% of the production respectively, with scallops, clams and abalones making up the rest. Canada was the fifth largest non-European Union (EU) supplier.

With an annual oyster production of 76,714 MT, France is Europe's largest shellfish producer and the world's fourth after China, North Korea, Japan and the US. It is also Europe's second largest producer of farmed mussels, with 78,200 MT annual production.

Historic shellfish domestic production in France by category from 2011 to 2015 in tonnes
Species 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Mussels 69,098 81,660 77,958 80,853 78,212
Oysters 79,338 80,609 77,698 76,705 76,714
Scallops, pectens 32,891 26,403 30,977 23,533 24,552
Abalones, winkles, conchs 13,860 11,462 12,560 12,384 12,885
Clams, cockles, arkshells 8,815 7,424 8,404 8,258 8,230
Total shellfish 204,002 207,558 207,597 201,733 200,593
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 2017
Historic shellfish Imported to France by category from 2012 to 2016 in tonnes
HS Code Description 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
N/A Total shellfish imports 98,717 99,418 101,268 100,705 103,047
030731 Live, fresh or chilled mussels 37,266 37,033 37,830 39,433 42,894
160553 Prepared mussels 14,006 12,476 13,108 13,833 12,832
030799 Other molluscs 10,482 9,800 10,629 11,040 11,153
030729 Scallops 15,186 16,178 15,575 13,115 10,013
030711 Fresh oysters 4,367 5,348 6,242 6,330 8,082
030739 Frozen mussels 3,411 2,715 2,610 3,374 3,602
030791 Live, fresh molluscs 3,352 3,325 2,502 2,786 3,376
160558 Prepared sea snails 3,031 3,636 3,725 2,799 3,340
030760 Fresh sea snails 2,001 2,592 3,092 2,792 3,132
030721 Fresh or chilled, scallops 4,810 5,345 4,516 3,615 2,971
030771 Fresh or chilled clams, cockles and ark shells 250 316 749 878 797
030779 Smoked, dried, salted clams, cockles and ark shells 128 140 263 271 365
160552 Prepared scallops 138 326 207 258 214
160556 Prepared clams, cockles and arkshells 164 91 148 134 155
030719 Smoked, dried, salted oysters 112 90 63 43 112
160551 Prepared oysters 6 N/D 5 4 7
160557 prepared abalone 7 3 3 N/D 2
Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017
Harmonized System (HS)
Not applicable (N/A)
No data (N/D)

Mussel products

France is a market of over 137,000 MT for mussel products (taking into account the local production and imports), and one of the most important in Europe. Large volumes (70%) are imported as fresh products. In 2016, some 14,941 MT of fresh mussels arrived from Spain and 13,829 MT from the Netherlands. 12,883 MT of prepared mussels came mainly from Chile, Ireland and Spain.

Fresh mussels make up the bulk of sales, to retail fishmongers and super markets, as well as the catering industry, where they are a popular dish. According to Agrimer, fresh mussels sell well in supermarkets, due to their average price of 3.50 Euros/kg, which makes them an easily accessible and convivial product. Large and medium-sized supermarkets account for 70% of sales, with the remainder sold by traditional fishmongers or in open markets.

Historic mussel products imported to France from 2012 to 2016 in tonnes
Rank Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
N/A World 54,682 52,227 53,548 56,641 59,326
1 Spain 14,686 11,981 13,470 15,662 15,997
2 Netherlands 14,055 13,105 12,465 13,726 15,645
3 Chile 11,526 9,472 10,222 11,255 10,379
4 Italy 3,629 6,556 7,185 6,332 7,297
5 Ireland 3,576 2,175 1,581 2,450 3,100
6 Denmark 1,117 2,028 4,065 2,802 2,521
7 United Kingdom 2,238 2,914 1,271 1,390 1,577
8 Greece 2,395 2,336 1,487 1,717 1,365
9 New Zealand 545 473 680 515 728
10 Belgium 58 59 209 151 188
Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017
Not applicable (N/A)

Scallop products

France imports scallops from over twenty different countries, and 13,197 MT of scallops were imported in 2016 about 65% of total consumption. The main supplier of scallops was the UK followed by Peru and Argentina. Canada was another traditional and important supplier ranked fifth.

Scallops are much appreciated by French consumers, and associated with an image of conviviality, festivity and luxury. Like oysters, scallops consumption is strongly influenced by the seasons, with considerable increase in sales during Christmas and New Year festivities.

Historic scallop products imported to France by country from 2012 to 2016 in tonnes
Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
World 20,135 21,847 20,297 16,990 13,197
United Kingdom 4,131 5,113 4,019 3,535 2,998
Peru 3,789 6,080 7,179 4,662 2,471
Argentina 4,096 3,629 3,213 2,673 2,039
United States 3,357 2,634 1,527 1,169 1,325
Canada 1,037 1,507 1,452 1,301 945
Russian Federation 1 N/D 22 704 758
Japan 361 226 253 445 421
Viet-Nam 843 331 489 112 295
Belgium 235 252 264 353 284
Germany 22 22 69 214 278
Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017
No data (N/D)

Locally harvested scallops are marketed live with the shell still in place, thus conveying an image of freshness to the consumer. They are also sold as shelled meat, either fresh or frozen, in controlled-atmosphere packaging, or even canned.

France is one of the largest consumer market in the world for scallops. Scallops are sold as "Coquille Saint-Jacques." The French appreciate scallops or shelled meat with a well-developed orange gonad ("noix de Coquilles Saint Jacques coraillée").

Oyster products

The French consume approximately 87,000 MT of oysters per year. 8,200 MT were imported in 2016, with Ireland and the UK suppling over 90% of it. However, the market is extremely seasonal, with sales concentrated around the New Year festivities. Agrimer notes that two out of three consumers only buy oysters during this period. A large majority of oysters are mainly sold live, still in shells. The principal distribution network for oysters is currently via supermarkets, but more oyster farmers are selling directly to consumers in open markets or at production sites.

Oysters are perceived by French consumers as a luxury product; however, it is still an affordable and accessible product. It is a celebratory meal that evokes images of sharing and health, and is a symbol of the ocean and nature. Because of this, any factors that affect this image can influence consumers.

Historic oyster products imported to France from 2012 to 2016 in tonnes
Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
World 4,486 5,438 6,308 6,376 8,202
Ireland 3,184 4,216 4,508 4,139 6,221
United Kingdom 663 829 1,441 1,650 1,415
Netherlands 179 120 178 398 353
Spain 133 90 34 38 43
Portugal 233 145 45 48 41
Germany N/D N/D 0 0 40
Korea (Republic of) 10 29 45 37 37
Italy 11 5 33 13 18
Denmark 14 2 7 16 14
Iran (Islamic Republic of) 15 0 0 0 8
Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017
No data (N/D)

Distribution channels

The retail channel accounted for over 83.4% of fresh fish and seafood sales in France, followed by the foodservice channel with 13.6%. The share of the retail channel increased between 2012 and 2016, while that of the foodservice and institutional channels saw a slight decline over that same period.

Distribution of fresh fish and seafood sales in France – percentage (%) breakdown based on volume sales
Distribution Channel 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Retail 81.6 82.7 82.2 82.3 83.4
Foodservice 14.8 14.6 14.5 14.4 13.6
Institutional 3.6 2.7 3.3 3.4 3.0
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Source: Euromonitor 2017

For more information

All EU fish and seafood tariffs are eliminated under Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). For Canadian producers, this will mean duty-free access on 96% of EU tariff lines immediately upon CETA's implementation. The EU will then phase out tariffs on the remaining 4% of its fish and seafood tariff lines over the next 3 to 7 years. Shellfish products are among the products that will benefit from EU tariff elimination.

International Trade Commissioners can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions and local business contacts, and are an excellent point of contact for export advice.

For additional intelligence on this and other markets, the complete library of Global Analysis reports can be found under Statistics and Market Information at the following link, arranged by sector and region of interest:

For additional Information on Seafood Expo Global 2017, please contact:

Resources

Sector Trend Analysis - Shellfish Products Trends in France
Global Analysis Report
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