You would think that French people would love their local produce and want it flagged up in the supermarket. But for 20 years, supermarkets’ preference for mass brands and low prices has progressively pushed ‘local’ to the edge of extinction. Now, thanks to consumers rejecting the bland uniformity of globalisation, provenance is staging a powerful comeback.
Walk through a French supermarket even five years ago and it was dominated by mass brands like Yoplait, Danone, Nestle and private label.
But “Le Local” has fought back. More and more shelf-space – as the picture shows – is now dedicated to new brands by small producers, sometimes single businesses, sometimes groups of farmers.
There are tens of regional examples. Here are two:
“Invitation to the Farm”, https://www.invitationalaferme.fr/a group of organic dairy farmers who sell yoghurts and cheeses with milk made within an 80km radius and strive to work to the highest standards of sustainability and environmental concern.
“The 30 Farms of CantAveyLot”, https://www.cantaveylot.fr/, another co-operative of just 30 farms serving a small region of central France.
And these brands are not sold just in upscale districts of Paris or Lyon. They can be found in local supermarkets in even economically-challenged regions.
This trend is one of the forces making ‘branding’ less powerful. More and more people are valuing taste, health benefits, connection to their personal beliefs, provenance and the sustainability credentials of a business. Deliver on some or all of those if you want to build brand trust.
In a world where ingredients can be 'from anywhere', people find it reassuring that they come 'from somewhere’ – and they’re voting with their pocketbooks in favour of provenance.