Fine food retail looking towards 2022

During Gourmet Selection in Paris last September, visitors and professionals were able to discover a market report by the consultancy Xerfi. Here is a look back on the main findings of the study.

GROWING POPULARITY AMONG CONSUMERS

A range of retail channels sell fine food:

  • delicatessens sell superior quality products. There are two types of these: multi-product shops on the one hand, and specialist shops on the other, selling exceptional products, consumed on special occasions or during festive periods;
  • supermarkets and websites;
  • top end single product shops, which are a mixed batch. In contrast to delicatessens, these seek to develop strongly;
  • direct selling platforms.

There are 5,300 delicatessens in France and 10% of them are located in Ile-de-France and the south-east of France (Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur and Corsica): here, there are more than two points of sale per 10,000 inhabitants. The leading family name brands, sometimes more than a hundred years old (Fauchon, Petrossian) enjoy strong growth in their sales: more than 10% between 2014 and 2018. The same success can be observed in corner stores installed in the Parisian department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette.

This sector generates between €7 billion and €9 billion per year. Purchases of fine food account for 5% of total household food consumption. This proportion is growing for several reasons: the products sold meet the aspirations of French people in terms of quality, composition and traceability; and consumers in France are keen to defend French gourmet heritage. These figures for fine food are further backed up by the success of smartphone applications such as Yuka, on which users scan food labels to find out their origin and their make-up. Despite their dwindling purchasing power, the French have not given up on treating themselves.

Between 2015 and 2018, delicatessens accounted for 20% of fine food sales, but the leading channel was mass retail. The only noteworthy negative episode is the drop in foie gras sales between 2016 and 2017 during an outbreak of avian influenza. From premium single product shops to online delicatessens and luxury grocery shops, all market segments except mass retail have improved their market share.

 

SUPERMARKETS EXPAND THEIR REGIONAL PRODUCTS SECTOR

The trend of introducing a regional product range dates back to the 1990s in supermarkets, with for example the own brand ’Reflets de France’ at Carrefour. Meanwhile, Leclerc introduced its ‘L’origine du goût’ brand in 2017. The fine food range at Monoprix accounts for 20% of the group’s shelf space. Supermarkets and hypermarkets use two methods to promote their fine food collections:

  • corner stands in their premises;
  • the installation of gourmet food stores: in 2018, Auchan opened a Premium shop in Marseille. Here, consumers can find stands selling traditional dishes and artisan products.

These initiatives in fine food remain an exception and receive little promotion by supermarkets. Another drawback is that these spaces dedicated to gourmet food do not trigger any form of emotional effect from the customer. There are no tasting sessions, and the consumer is not accompanied in their purchase. The report notes the same phenomenon in food supermarkets’ online stores of. Fine food is not on the front page and is generally scattered around the different headings of the site.

Several reasons explain the lack of interest of supermarkets for the fine food and luxury sector. indeed, they have other commercial priorities:

  • the organic sector, in which supermarkets have increased their market share impressively: from 42% in 2015, it reached nearly 50% in 2018;
  • they are investing in e-commerce and urban deliveries, having previously set up click and collect depots in the suburbs;
  • efforts are also focused on the snack and catering market. In 2019, Carrefour opened its ‘Bon Appetit’ catering areas.

SINGLE PRODUCT SHOPS GAIN GROUND THANKS TO INNOVATION

It is thanks to their creativity, their sense of product innovation, the customer experience they offer, their strategy on volumes and the hundreds of shop openings that single-product groceries are gaining customers. Fifty stores were audited for this report: the number of shops grew by 10% between 2014 and 2018. This was notably the case in the area of tea and coffee with Kusmi Tea and Nespresso.

These franchises are opening an increasing number of new stores, particularly in high footfall zones such as railway stations and airports. Brands also come together in small and medium sized towns to aggregate a customer base. In Vichy, for example a single shop, Savour histoires de gourmets, has since 2018 been selling products by Nicolas (wine), Neuville (chocolate) and Comtesse Du Barry (foie gras, truffles, terrines, etc.)

OTHER POINTS OF SALE FOR FINE FOOD

Fine food is also sold in other spaces and by other means, notably online, which offers an array of growth opportunities.

E-commerce traders

Unsurprisingly, Amazon leads the way with its Marketplace. The Amazon Store has its own delicatessen section. Other E-shops are starting to earn a customer following: bienmanger.com and edélices.com both generate more purchases, for example, than the wine merchant Nicolas’ e-store. Direct selling channels which also have their website: La Ruche qui dit Oui!, e-gourmets.fr, pourdebon.com, respectively the first and second generations of direct selling channels, are experiencing brisk growth. La Ruche (the beehive) puts consumers and producers in a given geographic zone into contact with one another. The other two websites offer distance selling all over France.

Traditional food artisan shops are also experiencing a comeback. After supermarkets, they are the favourite type of shop for consumers. With their dynamism and in great number - more than 100,000 in France - customers choose them for their hospitality and the quality of their products.

Development outlook for fine food

Firms bearing a strong identity, such as Fauchon, are deploying their brand to good effect. Tradition and innovation, building bonds with consumers: their shareholders are well aware of this potential for expansion, and pursue several goals:

  • diversification: the opening of catering spaces and takeaway sections. We can also note the advent of prepared food services and cookery workshops. Fauchon is also continuing to expand with a five-star hotel which has adopted the brand look and feel.
  • a wider customer target with propositions to a business audience for business gifts, privatisations, and even services for food artisan colleagues;
  • the digital aspect: implementation of web to store approaches: consumers search for and reserve their products online, then visit the store to convert their purchase in what is known as ‘click and collect’. But poor territorial coverage of physical points of sale is a hindrance to the optimal reach of this system;
  • geographical goals: the worldwide luxury goods market was worth €,1171 billion in 2018. 10% is generated in wine and food. Comtesse du Barry, for example, has 200 shops around the world. There are two limitations to these international extensions: delivery, conservation and customs rules and the dilution of brand identity.

 

Speaker: Delphine DAVID, XERFI