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Irish Mussels Doing Well In France's Organic Market

19 December 2011, at 12:00am

FRANCE and IRELAND - The French organic market grew by 15.8 per cent in 2009 and by a further 11 per cent in 2010. The organic market in France has moved mainstream and even to low cost retailers which proves that organic food products are in strong demand.

Ireland is well represented in the organic market with salmon which was the first seafood to have obtained organic status in the French market in 2001. Irish mussel farmers have also been shown to be pioneering by being first to adopt the EU organic certification under commission regulation 710/2009.

To increase awareness amongst French consumers Bord Bia launched the 2011/12 campaign for Irish Organic mussels with French media in November 2011. Over 20 media professionals attended which demonstrates keen interest for organic food in general and mussels in particular.

France produces 70,000 tonnes of mussels per year. However, the market needs 200,000 tonnes. The French market relies therefore on imported product for over 60 per cent of market needs. Ireland, with a market share of 12 per cent, is the fourth largest supplier of mussels to the French market behind Holland, Chile and Spain. However, it is the third largest supplier of fresh mussels as Chile supplies frozen.

According to a consumer study carried out by TNS-Sofres in August 2011, the traditional mussel and chips is the second most preferred dish for the French consumer just behind duck breast. Considering the many health attributions, environmental friendly production and a relatively low price per kg compared to other proteins, the future of the European mussel market in general looks promising.

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