Agrifoods: a domestic market that has reached maturity
The volume of French food-industry output was down 0.4% in the third quarter of 2009 from one year earlier. This result, however, is better than the 10.5% loss in other goods-producing industries. Once again, the food industries proved better at withstanding crises than other manufacturing sectors. Their response to cyclical fluctuations has long been more moderate. The main reason is the inertia of household food consumption, which consists mainly of processed foods. The food industry is constrained in the domestic market, where it is competing with agriculture, retailing, and catering for a share of the food-consumption market. By contrast, the food industry posted a trade surplus in 2009, albeit a smaller one than in the early 2000s.