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Consumer views on the sustainability of French durum wheat sector

In the context of the ANR Dur-Dur project, a study was performed on French attitudes towards durum wheat in order to better understand whether consumers are interested in proposals designed to enhance the sustainability of the durum wheat sector. The questionnaire was designed by a group of industrial actors and research scientists, some of whom came from the Joint Research Unit for Agroecology, Innovations and Territories (UMR-AGIR). They have just published their analysis inIndustrie des Céréales. The French are regular consumers of pasta and would be ready to change their purchasing behaviour towards products of regional origin and manufactured in France. 

. © INRA
Updated on 07/24/2018
Published on 05/09/2018

Development of the French durum wheat sector faces a variety of challenges. It is relatively recent, and the cultivation of durum wheat faces strong competition from other less risky and more profitable crops. Furthermore, pasta and couscous are already primary products that are widely consumed and appreciated. What are the prospects for growth under these circumstances? The aim of this study was to gain a clearer understanding of consumer habits and perceptions towards products such as pasta and couscous, and their views on the sustainability of the durum wheat sector.

The survey was performed via the internet by the BVA polling company and 1000 persons representative of the French population responded. The involvement of different actors (research scientists, industrial operators, BVA experts) in designing this survey constituted both a challenge and an advantage in terms of achieving an original and operational questionnaire.

First of all, the study confirmed the success of durum wheat products. The French are regular consumers of pasta; it is eaten by 85% of them at least once a week, generally because of their rapid and easy preparation. The image of this product is very good; pasta is considered to be practical, polyvalent, inexpensive and a source of pleasure. Under these circumstances, what levers could be operated to develop the market?

An obvious lever is that of the eco-responsibility strongly preferred by consumers. However, pasta is intrinsically perceived as healthy and little processed, and secondly these quality considerations are difficult to grasp because they depend on individual judgements and perceptions. So what does the concept of a sustainable sector mean to French consumers?

La deuxième partie du questionnaire vise à tester des propositions de progrès pour une filière blé dur durable, en évaluant la perception et l’intérêt des consommateurs pour les propositions présentées (dimensions environnementale, socio-économique et nutritionnelle).

The second part of the questionnaire aims to test proposals for a sustainable durum wheat sector by assessing the perception and interest of consumers for the proposals presented (environmental, socio-economic and nutritional dimensions).

According to the study, the main levers to increase the purchasing of pasta are that it should be produced locally (region or France) and in an environmentally-friendly manner. Furthermore, the study revealed that it is the people who eat a great deal of pasta, and are more committed to sustainable development, who are the most interested in these proposals.

These findings offer new perspectives and ideas for the durum wheat sector in order to support the production and processing of durum wheat in France.

Download the file from the journal Industrie des céréales

The ANR Dur-Dur project

Agronomic, technical and organisational innovations to increase the sustainability of durum wheat
Faced with current challenges (climate, price, regulations and the environment), the sustainability of the French durum wheat sector is based on its abilities to organise, innovate and adapt. The ANR Dur-Dur project proposes the development of a systemic approach to managing the efficiency of nitrogen, energy and contaminants so that product quality can be guaranteed throughout the production and processing chain [Read more …]