Looking at the market from a global perspective, France ranks eighth on the world stage , with over eight million tons of potatoes produced in 2019. Moreover, French potatoes travel far beyond the nation’s borders: France is the leading exporter of fresh and chilled potatoes worldwide , and exports around two million tons each year. The potato quality and diversity have allowed France to interact with many foreign markets, all the while maintaining its bonds with close European neighbors , such as Belgium and Spain.
While exports constitute the primary use of French potatoes, this crop also serves other purposes , such as the manufacture of processed potato products. The processing industries account for over 20 percent of the production, and most of it is used for frozen French fries and flaked mashed potatoes.
Nowadays, despite lower consumption figures than 50 years ago, the potato remains an essential product in France. Indeed, the population consumes about 50 to 55 kilograms of potatoes each year- fresh and processed combined.
Many factors actively contribute to the national success of the potato. Firstly, this product is not as expensive as other vegetables. Furthermore, while hyper and supermarkets account for the largest share of potato purchases , they are nonetheless available in almost every store, from smaller greengrocers to local markets, and all year round. Finally, potatoes are also key ingredients in many beloved dishes in France, such as raclette , thus solidifying its place in French people’s hearts and on their plates.