The French in focus

The IDF World Dairy Situation with a focus on France came out this week, and I have decided to go on a personal inspection tour and head to France to see if what they said on the webinar was true about dairy. No, we’re just going on a bit of a history and eating tour around the Somme. It’s also exciting as the World Dairy Summit is being held in Paris in October, so it is very timely. I am looking forward to it all. There will be much cheese eaten over the next few months in France.

France occupies a select place in world dairy, as a large producer of cow milk and its products, but also other small ruminant milks such as goats and sheep. It accounts for 16 per cent of total cow milk intake, but also 14 per cent of the total intake for sheep milk, and 30 per cent for goat milk, according to the report. The last number makes it the top EU country for goat milk production. While overall milk production has dropped for cow milk, both the sheep and goat milk production went up in 2023, according to the IDF.

PDO milk supply

The amount of PDO products shows its importance to the industry there, with 51 different dairy PDOs, including 46 cheeses, according to Benoît Rouyer, economic outlook director at CNIEL, the French Dairy Inter-branch organisation. It is also home to five mountain areas which amount to 13 million hectares of farming. Additionally, five large processors – Lactalis, Danone, Savencia, Sodiaal and Bel – have products that are known globally and operate in many countries.

In a way, President Macron, who last month noted that the young chefs of France should be heading out to the world to upgrade and move French cuisine forward (having been outdone by Denmark lately), perhaps should look at all the dairy giants that quietly and persistently spread their products globally.


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