The French dairy industry in figures

The dairy industry:
a key driver
of the French

Source : ESANE 2013



  (dairy industry revenues)

298,000 jobs
across France

Sources : CNIEL, based on ESANE, FADN and the Agreste annual dairy survey

Source : Eurostat/French Customs 2013



trade surplus in 2013

A dairy country:
from farming
to production

Source : Eurostat / Agreste


Europe’s 2nd

largest milk


 after Germany


Milk produced throughout France

61 733 dairy farms delivering cow’s milk


Source : Agreste annual dairy survey 2015

Source : Agreste’s provisional agricultural accounts (2013)


Dairy product:

€8.7 billion
in absolute value

13% of total
agricultural production


France’s dairy livestock

  • 3.6 million dairy cows
    (60% Holstein, known as Prim’Holstein in France)
  • 1.2 million dairy sheep
  • 850,000 goats

        Source : Agreste (2015)

A typical French dairy farm

  • 52 dairy cows
  • 330,000 litres of milk produced annually
  • 88 hectares, including 32 ha of pasture
  • 54% run as farm companies (as “GAEC” collectives or “EARL” limited companies)

Sources: FADN/FranceAgriMer/Agreste annual dairy survey

A typical cow:           

  • Weighs  600Kg
  • Produces 6,800 litres of milk annually (5,700 in 2000)
  • Produces up to 30 litres of milk daily
  • Drinks 80 to 100 litres of water daily during lactation
  • Eats 70 kg of forages and cereals daily

                                                        Source : FADN 2011



23.7 billion

litres of cow’s milk

collected in 2012

  • 97% of collected milk comes from cows
  • France represents nearly 20% of cow’s milk in Europe

Source : Agreste monthly dairy survey/Eurostat (2013)

Milk is collected

on average every

48 hours

Milk collection in France

  • 54% by cooperatives
  • 46% by private companies

Source : FNCL

A wide
variety of

Around 650 milk processing plants (500 companies)


5 French groups rank in the global dairy
top 25

Source : CNIEL


99% of milk
processed in France comes from French farms


Source: CNIEL, based on Eurostat (2012)

French milk is processed:

Dairy products
for consumers
and also
other markets…

Source: CNIEL, based on FranceAgriMer (2012)

75% of milk
is transformed
into consumer
dairy products

(milks, yoghurts, milk drinks, cheeses, butter and cream)

Use of milk in France

Camembert des ébouchés du lait


Source: CNIEL, based on FranceAgriMer (2013)

Source: CNIEL, based on FranceAgriMer (2012))

25% of milk

is transformed

into intermediate


(used in the food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries)


Production in 2011:

Liquid milk: 3.5 billion litres
Cheese: 1.9 million tonnes

Cream: 365,000 tonnes
Butter + concentrated butter: 
407,000 tonnes

Yoghurts and dairy desserts:
2.4 million tonnes
Powdered milk: 478,000 tonnes

Source: Annual dairy survey


How much milk is needed?:

  • 1 kg of butter = 22 litres of milk
  • 1 kg of Emmental = 12 litres of milk
  • 1 Camembert (250 g) = 2 litres of milk
  • 1 kg of powdered skimmed milk = 10.6 litres of milk

Source: L’Economie Laitière en Chiffres (The Dairy Economy in Figures)


Around 1,200


50 French AOC
including 49 AOP

Source : CNAOL

Source: CSA study (2012)

Dairy products: France’s favourite foods, along with fruit and vegetables

Source: CNIEL, based on Eurostat (2012)

Around 60%

of dairy products

made in France

are consumed

by the French


1 French person buys on average:

What a French buys...


Source: CNIEL, based on KantarWorlPanel (2013)

Source : The World Dairy Situation (2013)

France is:

  • The world’s largest consumer of butter
  • The world's largest consumer of cheeses

Source: CCAF (2010)

80% of French

people aged 3-75

consume dairy products

every day

9% consume little or
no dairy products

Source: CNIEL, based on Symphony IRI (2011)


Dairy products represent 14% of food expenditures in France

An export-

Source: Eurostat (2003/2013)


Trade surplus

for dairy


+71% in 10 years



France exported €6.6 billion of dairy products in 2016


Source : Eurostat (2016)


4 out of 10 litres

of milk collected in

France are exported

Source: CNIEL, based on Eurostat (2012)

Source : Eurostat (2013)

67% of exports

of dairy

products are

to the European


Source : Eurostat (2016)

largest buyer

of French butter

largest buyer

of French cheeses

Source : CNIEL / FAO

Global consumption

of dairy products is

growing by 2.5%


driven by

emerging countries.


3 dairy products



Recommended by the French national nutrition program (PNNS)



Contents of 1 glass of semi-skimmed milk (150 ml):


Composition 150 mL de lait

+ minerals, vitamins and trace elements


3 dairy products

cover 60% of

daily calcium



Dairy products are:

  • The main source of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, iodine and vitamin B2
  • The second-largest source of vitamins B12, B4, D, A and zinc.


3 dairy products


and safety


1969 : the French

“Godefroy” law

introduced milk tariffs

based on composition

and quality

Source : Charter for Good Agricultural Practices

90% of cow

breeders have

signed the French

Charter for Good



13 dairy laboratories


map of laboratories

120 million analyses

Source : CNIEL

1 dairy herd: at least 3 random milk analyses monthly


The Dairy Economy in Figures