Friday, April 26, 2013

Marketing France

 Photo by Magiline swimming pools

In modern times you will find that the glorious products originating from the regions of France are mostly a thing of the past.  This information comes to us from the French Agricultural Ministry and I suppose should come as no surprise. 

  But it does, and I am disappointed that many of the famous French food products, especially, are no longer being produced in France.

Let's take a look.

 For a long time now French products have been protected by the AOC:  The appellation d'origine contrôlée  which means "controlled designation of origin".  

This would apply to certain wines, cheeses and butters coming from a specific geographical location and protected by the French
government ......but the "catch" is that now the product only has to be finally packaged in the French region designated to comply with the AOC.

Dijon Mustard for example does not have to be made in Dijon and is only characterized by using wine "must" in the mixture.  Canada is the producer today of 90% of Dijon Mustard.  

 Saucisse d'Ane:  photo by Alisa and James blogspot..Mas de Bonheur

Another product which must be suspect of being made elsewhere is "Corsican" charcuterie.   Long famous for deli products such as the "donkey sausage",  Corsica now imports most of these from Argentina, the ham carcasses from China.

The melons from the famous clay soil of Charentais have no AOC stamp.  Therefore 80% are from Spain, Morocco, the Caribbean, China or Senegal. 

"Paris mushrooms"  of yesteryear mostly arrive to the supermarket shelves from the USA, China and the Netherlands.  

Lagiolle knives, photo by bladeforums

Lagiolle knives, the beautiful creation with the little bee on the side, have been counterfeited for a century now and today are mostly made in China or Pakistan.  The result being that only 10 % are actually manufactured in France. 

Marseille soap only passes through that French city to have the perfumes and packaging added.  The oils and soap ingredients originate in Turkey and China.

Camembert has an AOC that reads "Camembert de Normandie" but it is easy to confuse people by saying instead, "Camembert made in Normandy".  There is a difference in taste as one is pasteurized and the other not.

 Butter from Brittany, Photo by

Many celebrated products say they are from Brittany.  There is an "AOC de Bretagne" but through loopholes, 82% of these products are from abroad... mostly China, Holland and Poland.    Guerande salt, for example, is imported often from Argentina and Vietnam.  Even 73 % of Breton products like butter and pastries are from other states in the E.U. or from Asia. 

And I haven't even mentioned the olive oils of Provence! 

I know I am naive by nature...or shall we say "trusting"... but it discourages me that this is a result of competitive marketing here too in France, the land so proud of its culinary history and products. 

 I suppose with the global economy,  this was inevitable.     Price differences will be the great leveler in this situation if you are looking for a local product.  But it is tricky and one must read labels carefully if you want the real McCoy.  

 I suppose,  I should be happy that the world has this form of cooperation and the other countries have their contributions. Indeed the European Union itself seems to have outlived expectations.  

 But I am still caught off guard by the phony labeling.   They say that if one is never disappointed he is either dead or enlightened.   Well , rest assured I am neither.

Peppers from Espelette , photo by commons.wikimedia

1 comment:

  1. For your information , I did not change the font size in the article....that would be the google fairy!