Made in France: are the labels really all reliable?

Faced with various climatic and environmental challenges, more and more consumers want to turn to products made in France. According to an Opinion Way survey, 64% of French people indicate that they have increased their consumption of French products since the start of the pandemic.

Today, buying French makes it possible to support French companies, to buy quality products, to preserve know-how while drastically reducing the environmental impact of our purchases. But what does the mention “Made in France” really guarantee? Answers!

What is “Made in France”?
Manufacturers or distributors may include on their products, under certain conditions, the words “Made in France”, “Produced in France” or “Made in France”. The goal ? Attesting to their French origin.

To bear the mention “Made in France” or “Made in France”, a product must, according to the General Directorate of Enterprises (DGE):

  1. Draw a significant part of its value (at least 45%) from one or more manufacturing steps located in France;
  2. Have undergone its last substantial transformation in France.

Please note, the mention “Made in France” does not mean that the product was entirely made in France. Indeed, some manufacturing steps can be carried out abroad. This is the reason why a product bearing the mention “Made in France” can be made up of raw materials imported from other countries!

Did you know ? According to INSEE calculations, “Made in France” would represent in 2019 some 81% consumption by French households.

How to recognize a “Made in France” product?

Since 2021, a logo created by France industrie allows you to easily identify a product made in France. Here it is :

©France Industry

This logo is not mandatory. Manufacturers can promote other labels if they wish, whether free or paid. There are several:

  • Geographical indications (PDO, AOC, PGI, etc.);
  • The France Terre Textile label which guarantees that at least 75% of the manufacturing steps have been carried out in France;
  • The Origine France Garantie label, which certifies that the essential manufacturing steps for the product have been carried out in France and that 50% of the unit price is acquired in France;
  • The Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant label which distinguishes French companies with artisanal and industrial know-how of French excellence.

To qualify, manufacturers must meet specific specifications. These different elements are verified by independent third-party organizations.

What products are covered by these labels?

In Europe, it is not compulsory to show the origin of the product for consumer goods and manufactured products. Manufacturers therefore have the freedom to inform consumers about the origin of the products offered or not. In addition, certain food, cosmetic or agricultural products must imperatively indicate their origin. These products include fruits and vegetables, fish products, meat and oil.

Are there markings that can mislead?

There are many ambiguous or misleading markings that can mislead you the consumer. Here are a few: “designed in France”, “designed in France”, “assembled in France”, “made in France”, “packaged in France”, etc. All suggest a French origin, while in fact, this is not necessarily the case.
In 2018, agents from the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) found that 25% controlled products would fall under misleading commercial practices.

If you notice ambiguous or misleading marking, you can report it via the application SignalConsoa tool offered by the fraud prevention services.

Did you know ? The presence of a French flag, a map of France, a rooster or a cockade on a product or its packaging does not guarantee that the product was made in France.

How are labels controlled?
The DGCCRF controls the labeling of “Made In France” products sold in France, while the General Directorate of Customs and Indirect Duties (DGDDI) allows companies to check the eligibility of their products. If the criteria are not met and the product is on sale, the penalties can be significant: the entrepreneur risks two years in prison and a fine of 300,000 euros.


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