Art of living market: from wine to gastronomy, a market in full expansion

When we talk about the French Art of Living market, the terroir and gastronomy are not far from the taste buds… From wine to caviar, through renewed delights highlighting regional riches, the market relies on the quality and diversity of products, beyond marketing. Among the areas in the spotlight, delicatessens, high-end agri-food (caviar or salmon…) or very good French wines, including champagne. In 2017, it is more than 8.7 billion euros in export for wine in France. For delicatessen, the market is valued at 5 billion euros in France. Which owes its impulse to the trend of well-eating, terroir and the enhancement of taste. Thus, the pleasure of the taste buds is to date a generator of growth, on the national territory as in the Bordeaux region.

Gastronomy in France, a major economic challenge – 2016 figures

Art de vivre and marketing, the French sensitivity for gastronomy and the terroir

French and foreigners are extremely sensitive to French luxury. This is also reflected in delicatessen products, very high-end gastronomy as well as prestigious wines. This is part of what is called the French way of life. As the late Paul BOCUSE understood, taste quality and creativity are certainly essential in gastronomy, but communication around products is just as important.

The real cuisine will always be that of the terroir. In France, butter, cream and wine will always be the bases.

Paul BOCUSE, French Chef, 3 Stars in the Michelin Guide

The concept of terroir is very French. There is no term that covers so many dimensions in other languages. The terroir constitutes a whole economy based on the valorization of ancestral know-how, the quality associated with a geographical origin, the value of the local. Beyond that, for local products to be recognized “of the terroir”, a whole marketing strategy, including on the part of the territories, is being put in place.

Also, the French terroir then finds an echo internationally. Without this work, there is no rational reason why Bordeaux wine, Cognac or Champagne should be so evocative outside our borders. The same goes for our cheeses and other culinary specialties.

The terroir is therefore a marketing concept that is the strength of the French art of living.

Wine at the heart of the French art of living market

This attraction has been well perceived by foreign investors, particularly in the wine and spirits sector. Champagne is not to be outdone:

The Champagne market in 2017

The reputation of Bordeaux wines goes beyond the French and European borders: it is global. In 2016, 2 million hectolitres of Bordeaux wines were exported internationally, for an estimated revenue of €1.7 billion.

Unsurprisingly, the Chinese are very fond of Bordeaux wines. They own more than 100 castles in the region and in Bordeaux, bought from their former owners. They then export the bottles from their estates to their country, the vast majority. Today, they own 2% of Bordeaux’s vineyards, and these statistics continue to grow. Wealthy billionaires from the Middle Country who are more and more numerous to visit the estates to buy them, main foreign investors in Bordeaux vineyards.

The export of French wine, a limitless growth potential

Proof of the value of French wine internationally, export accounts for no less than 30% of the marketing of French wines. This figure makes it the second largest surplus in French foreign trade, just behind aeronautics.

Moreover, according to IWSR, China would account for 71.8% of the market’s growth in volume terms in 2020. However, this result may have been slowed down by the health crisis, which has significantly slowed down trade. The Asian trend for French wine makes it a market of choice for theBordeaux company Uwine.

Export is all the more important for French wine as the consumption of the French itself evolves. Thus, according to a Vinexpo/IWSR study, a 13% decrease in volume consumption was expected between 2011 and 2020. So we move from a daily consumption to a more festive consumption. Less quantity, more quality.

In addition to China, the world’s largest wine-consuming country remains the United States. Trump’s 25% taxes won’t change that. Specialists estimate a growth of 6.5% in volume and 11% in value for the import of French wines. Nevertheless, the losses related to this tax are estimated at 400 million euros in 2020.

In addition to the very large markets represented by the USA and China, Africa is also a promising market. Côte d’Ivoire, Namibia and Nigeria show some of the largest growth in wine imports in 2020. It is also with these territories that AOW Groupe declared that it wanted to trade. Which are particularly fond of organic wines.

art of living vineyards bordeaux wines organic export
The French art of living flourishes in the terroir and organic, symbol of quality and health.

Organic wine, an evolution of the art of living that has a future

More recently, it is therefore particularly with organic wines that French gastronomy is renewed. It is open to a diverse audience and attached to the land. So much so that the VINEXPO Show in 2019 focused in particular on organic wines, with a dedicated space. To realize the growing interest of wine lovers in organic, it is necessary to know that since 2010, the turnover of the sector increases by about 15% each year.

In line with the trend of funds for a healthier lifestyle, one in two consumers is willing to price an organic wine at a higher price. Quality of wine (48%), support for the terroir and local producers (44%) and respect for the environment (43%) are the main motivations.

On the marketing side, organic and small producers are also making progress. Many exploit the power of storytelling on the winemaker, his family history, his know-how transmitted from generation to generation, his love for his grapes, his convictions…

Organic, big winner of the underlying trend for local and quality

The growing success of organic wine applies to wine but also to all other food products. Thus, at the end of 2019, 2.3 million hectares were cultivated organically. This represents 8.5% of the agricultural area under operation. To compare, it amounted to 2 million hectares in 2018, which was already 13% more than in 2017. Since 2010, France has experienced the highest increase in organic areas in the European Union. It is now in second place, just behind Spain.

organic agriculture gastronomy art of living
Almost half of the organic is produced in the 3 largest French regions.

Occitania has about 10,660 farms for more than 500,000 hectares of organic. Then, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and its 7,000 farms extend over 290,000 hectares. Finally, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes has just over 6,500 organic farms on 274,000 hectares.

On the consumption side, organic sales are exploding from year to year. Thus, in 2019, it amounted to nearly 12 billion euros, an increase of 1.3 billion euros in one year. This is as much as Germany, the European leader in organic farming.

In the case of Organic Specialty Stores on all departments combined, the turnover reached 4.2 billion euros. In 2019, growth of 10.3% was expected for 2020. It should also be noted that the health crisis has favoured local consumption, possibly boosting this estimate.

The Bordeaux region, a land of choice for gastronomy professionals

Beyond the wine and spirits market itself, recent years have seen the emergence in Bordeaux of a number of delicatessens, dedicated to culinary pleasure. These include the Spice Dock or the Bordeaux Comptoir.

It highlights all regional specialties, such as Bordeaux cannelés, Sauterne and dark chocolate grapes, Saint-Emilion macaroons, Bordeaux corks, Mademoiselle de Margaux cherry and chocolate guinettes, or bordeaux lamprey.

The same is true for gourmet restaurants, including the Fourth Wall,in the Opéra National de Bordeaux, run by the famous Chef Philippe ETCHEBEST.

I chose to settle in Bordeaux because it is my city and I wanted to participate in its dynamism.

Philippe ETCHEBEST, Michelin-starred chef, owner of the Quatrième Mur, host of the culinary shows Objectif Top Chef and Nightmare in the kitchen.
fourth wall large theater restaurant bordeaux
The Gault et Millau lists more than 100 gastornomic restaurants in Bordeaux.

Gordon Ramsay, another great culinary name, British this time, has put his suitcases at the foot of the Intercontinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel. At the Pressoir d’Argent, a two-star restaurant in the Michelin Guide, he showcases French gastronomy. Foie gras from the Landes, vegetables from organic farming in the Basque Country, Breton lobster… Proof if it were still necessary of the value of the appellations and the French terroir.


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