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French Foie Gras Volumes Quiet

02 December 2013

FRANCE - As French households prepare for the 2013 festive season, foie gras will almost certainly be on the menu for many: the country consumes two thirds of the world’s production and produces three quarters of the world’s foie gras, writes Peter Crosskey.

In 2012, French production totalled more than 19,000 tonnes, registering a 4.7 per cent year-on-year decline, according to FranceAgriMer.

Fewer than 500 tonnes of this was goose foie gras: ducks are a de facto industry standard for the sector. Nearly 90% of the country’s production comes from the south west, notably Aquitaine with additional production in nearby Midi-Pyrenees to the east and the Loire to the north.

Retail sales data for the first 10 months of 2013 point to an 11 per cent decline in purchase volumes and a four per cent decline in consumer spend for a category with an average price of nearly €42/kg. The category is a crude measure of confidence in the economy, reflecting what people believe they have to celebrate at the end of the year.

FranceAgriMer notes that despite lower prices, sales volumes of foie gras have still dropped.
The slaughter weight of specially-fattened French birds killed out to September 2013 stands at 97,000 tonnes carcase equivalent, down three per cent year on year.

Over the summer, imports of EU-produced frozen foie gras nosedived in July, as a clear picture emerged of France’s likely year-end uptake.

Much of the frozen import volumes come from Bulgaria and Hungary, where French specialist producers have set up satellite operations to sidestep a growing threat of protests.

Since France’s third country exports of frozen foie gras have surged this year, it is safe to suppose that, alongside the east European frozen tonnages, France has been selling strongly to long haul markets where freezing is a food storage norm, such as Saudi Arabia, Asia and tropical destinations. 

Further Reading

You can view the full France AgriMer report by clicking here.

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