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For the French nothing says home like local heritage cheese

30 June 2014

The French indulge in regionally produced heritage cheeses such as Roquefort, Emmental and Brie, finds new report by Canadean. 

The average French consumer eats or drinks 1,064 dairy products per year, the highest amount globally. In 2013 the value of the dairy market in France was estimated at US$ 24 billion; of this, the French spend US$ 5.6 billion on indulgent dairy products. France’s need for indulgence is the highest when compared to dairy consumption worldwide, especially when it comes to cheese: more than 2kg of every 5kg is selected for this reason. Cheese - the traditional snack at social gatherings  - is especially popular in France when it offers strong and decadent flavours. Catherine O’Connor, senior analyst at Canadean, says: "French consumers seek rich, ripened cheeses as well as those that offer a fuller, more luxurious mouthfeel, such as crumbly cheeses and those with crunchy or gooey textures." 

The desire for indulgence is leading consumers to expect more from ‘everyday’ products – causing them to want a genuine experience from the products they buy. O'Connor says: "French consumers will be receptive to trading up to cheeses that can offer them something extra. There will be a demand for products boasting claims such as ‘seasonal’ and ‘wild’, as well as limited edition ingredients and artisanal techniques, with consumers on the lookout for the fresh, authentic taste experiences." 

French prefer locally produced heritage cheese

According to figures from CNIEL (France’s National Dairy Economy Centre), 60% of dairy products made in France are consumed by the French who see dairy as part of their cultural cuisine. The French feel especially connected to their cheese. Consumers in France like cheese which comes from regional producers who use authentic production processes. These products are seen as guaranteeing high quality and good taste and consumers are even willing to pay more for regionally produced specialty cheeses, such as Roquefort, Emmental and Brie. According to Canadean, products that include famous cheese-making regions in their brand names will be particularly successful; as will cheeses which feature quality-promising labels like those protected with AOC labelling (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée), which certifies that the cheese has been produced in France by traditional methods. O’Connor added, "Story-led and heritage-based marketing should be used to convey authenticity and tradition to consumers."


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Editor’s notes

All market insights from this press release are based on Canadean's new report: 'Consumer Trends Analysis: Understanding Consumer Trends and Drivers of Behavior in the French Dairy Market.'

Roquefort French Cheese 1

Ile de France, which was established in 1936, offers a unique Roquefort blue cheese: made from the milk of grass-fed Lacaune sheep and Penicillium Roquefortii extracted from Ile de France's own homemade bread, the cheese matures in natural ventilated caves where it develops its distinct flavour.


This report is based on Canadean’s consumer data, developed from consumption surveys and consumer group tracking, which quantifies the influence of 20 consumption motivations in consumer markets. 

For further information

Please get in contact if you have any questions to this or other Canadean reports. Contact the Canadean press office on +44 (0) 20 3220 0818 or email


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