The Import Sector and the Companies

The Sector:

  • Europe imports 13 million tons of fresh fruit and vegetables each year. In France, 20 % of the fruit and vegetables that are consumed come from beyond the European borders.
  • Thanks to imports, the consumer finds all year round a diversity of fruit and vegetables that cannot be cultivated in France: citrus fruit, exotic and tropical products, and off-season products harvested at full maturity.

The Companies

The French importers are united within the CSIF, the professional organisation dealing with Large Importation.

These companies employ on average 35 people and account for 80% of the French imports of fresh fruit and vegetables, i.e. approximately 1 billion euros.

The sector directly or indirectly employs some 2,000 people, to whom those of many related trades should be added: forwarding agents, ports, transport, and so on.

The CSIF's member companies are mostly established in Paris Rungis, and in the provinces mainly in the PACA (Marseille), Languedoc Roussillon (Perpignan) and North regions. They have sometimes established subsidiaries in the European ports, which facilitate their re-forwarding of products into other Member States.

Two thirds of their clientele are constituted by mass distribution companies and the remaining third by traditional wholesalers.

Their procurement comes from their own production and/or from local producers.

The CSIF importers form partnerships with their suppliers, with respect for their environment, with major implications for production. The objective is to ensure sustainable relationships at economic, corporate and environmental levels alike:

  • The CSIF importers have, for years, been developing an athical approach in the countries where they are present by contributing to the local life. Importation towards Europe is a genuine engine of development for the least favoured nations.
  • The CSIF importers have for several years been engaged in sustainable development actions, with the support of research organisations, especially at the environmental level, thus coming up with certain progressive approaches (transport by boat, packaging, etc...).
  • The CSIF importers are engaged in an approach of self-regulation and appraisal of the quality and safety of the products that they bring to market. This approach, unprecedented in Europe, has been validated by the French Public Authorities.