French producers of foie gras, paté made of goose or duck livers, are looking back at a very successful 2014. In France alone, consumer sales amounted to some €3 billion, an increase of almost 4% on the previous year.
The trade balance showed a surplus of €57.3 million, just over €5 million more than in 2013 thanks to €2.8 million higher exports and a €2.3 million decrease of the imports.
France is by far the largest producer of foie gras in the world, with a total production of 19,600 tonnes last year. “In our country, 30,000 more households bought foie gras then in 2013,” says Marie-Pierre Pé, managing director of the producers’ organisation Comité interprofessionnel des palmipèdes à foie gras (Cifog). “Most French people still want foie gras on the table in the festive season. We are also diversifying, offering foie gras in different shapes and sizes to the customer. Last year, there were 76 different products available in the supermarkets.”
Moreover, the French also managed to export more foie gras to other countries. “For the first time in four or five years, the sales in Spain, are biggest export destination, are up while the Belgians bought 20% more. Exports to Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam and other countries in South-East Asia are also developing further.” Pé also mentions the recent decision of a judge in California to quash the ban on foie gras in that American state: “Restaurants in California are allowed to put foie gras back on the menu.”
Cifog stresses that 70% of the producers in France already comply with the new European regulation for group housing of the animals. “By January 1st, 2016, all of them will meet those norms,” Pé stresses. “In total, we will have invested €100 million by then. Two years ago, we feared that the production would be down significantly because of these new rules but at this moment 70% of our members already meet the target.”