In France, there are many different types of étiquette to be aware of when purchasing food, drink or other products. However, this étiquette does not have to do with behaviour – rather it is the French word for label or sticker that might designate certain properties about an item being purchased.
Here are some that you might run into while shopping in France:
Wines and other beverages
French wine often has several different designations and labels that you might come across. In France, wine is labelled based on region rather than grape.
Cru – the word “cru” – translated as ‘growth’ – on a wine label signifies that it was grown in high-quality vineyard or growing site, and provides further proof to where the wine was produced.
Vin Bio – this designates a product, and in this case, wine as being organic. You will also find a bio (pronounced bee-yo) section of fruit and veg in most French supermarkets as well as plenty of other products with a bio label. Most towns and communes regularly host a marché bio – a market where all the products on sale are organic.
Here is an example of what the label looks like:
Photo Credit: Economie.Gouv.Fr
To be certified as bio, producers must follow a set of EU specifications around how products are grown, which limit the use of chemicals such as fertilisers, pesticides and weedkillers. The bio brand is a protected mark.
Vin natural – While bio refers to how the grapes are grown, ‘natural wines’ refers to the process of turning the grapes into wine.
This is more vague than organic as there isn’t an agreed set of standards for what constitutes a ‘natural wine’. Producers label their bottles vin méthode nature (natural wine method) but you’ll also frequently see and hear vin naturel or vin nature to describe these products. In general, it means a wine that has no additives used during the wine-making process and no or few added sulphites, which can mean that natural wines taste different.
Not all organic wines are natural and not all natural wines are made with organic grapes, although the two tend to go together.
Vin biodynamique – Growers who embrace the biodynamic method go a step further and as well as cutting out chemicals they also plant and harvest their crop according to the lunar calendar.
Biodynamic isn’t a protected mark and a biodynamic wine isn’t necessarily organic or natural, but vine growers who go to the trouble of following the lunar calendar are generally pretty committed to producing their product in a more natural way.
Champagne (capital C) – The sparkling wine known as Champagne can only be produced in the French Champagne region, otherwise it’s just sparkling wine. In fact, the Champagne industry has a skilled team of lawyers tasked with insuring that the name “Champagne” is not being used inappropriately or incorrectly. Champagne is a famous example of the French AOC (more on this below).
Geographic designations and traditional techniques
In France, there are three different labels that determine where a product comes from and whether it was made according to certain traditional standards.
L’Appellation Contrôlée (AOC) – This designation can either indicate that a product comes from a specific geographical area or that it was produced following a certain traditional technique. Under French law, it is illegal to manufacture and sell a product under one of the AOC-controlled indications if it does not comply with the criteria of that AOC. In order to make them recognisable, all AOC products carry a seal, with a number as well as the name of the certifying body.
You can see an example of the label below:
Photo Credit: www.economie.gouv.fr
The colour of the seal indicates the product classification: green for field products and red for dairy products.
It is worth keeping in mind that simply being considered an AOC product does not necessarily mean that the quality will be better than a non-AOC product, as it is focused on either geographical location or technique used when cultivating the product. The AOC designation is typically applied to certain wines and cheeses, though it can be extended to other products too.
AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) – the European Union operates a similar geographical protection system that recognises products that are the “result of a unique combination of human and environmental factors that are characteristic of a given territory”.
The two labels are pretty much the same, but the AOC is French and older, while the AOP is recognised on a European level.
In most cases, in order to apply for AOP designation, the product must already have an AOC recognition at the national level and then it is later registered with the European Commission.
For France, the AOP concerns certain dairy products – specifically, 45 cheeses, 3 butters, and 2 creams – other foods like “Grenoble walnuts” are also listed as AOPs.
As for non French products, Gorgonzola cheese is an example of an Italian AOP.
La Spécialité Traditionnelle Garantie (STG) – In English this would be referred to as the “Traditional Speciality Guarantee”. This is another European-wide label. It attests that a food product has been manufactured according to a recipe considered traditional.
The first French STG was “Bouchot mussels” which are collected using a traditional aquaculture technique.
Label rouge – This French label allows you to identify superior quality products. It has been in existence for over 60 years – according to the French ministry of economy, Landes chicken was the first food product to be awarded the label. Label rouge can be applied to food products as well as non-food agricultural products, such as Christmas trees or flowers.
For example, a Christmas tree might qualify for the Label rouge if it is: from the Nordmann or Spruce species, free from parasites (fungi and insects); fitting the proper aesthetic criteria for shape, colour, symmetry and density; and fresh – meaning cut down after November 21st.
Nutri-score – this five letter label designates food products based on their nutritional value. This is regulated by public health authorities. The logo is on packaging and ranges from A (dark green, most nutritious) to E (dark orange, least nutritious).
Artisanale – this is a protected “appellation” (title) that was created in 1998, and it regulates ‘craft’ products according to French law – the most common usages are for bakeries and breweries but it’s used for a wide range of products.
People running the business must be able to prove a certain relevant education and qualification level and register with the trade organisation or guild for their craft.
For example, bakery owners must register the boulangerie with the Chambre des Métiers et de l’Artisanat and take a preparatory course.
Typically, artisan producers promise to use non-processed materials and they must also follow certain quality rules. For example, bread sold in these artisan boulangeries cannot have been frozen.
French bread and pastry designations
When buying your baguette at the boulangerie, there are some differences to be aware of.
Baguette Tradition – As suggested by the name, this designation means that the baguette was made using the traditional ingredients – only flour, yeast, salt and water. These were decided upon as part of the French government’s ‘bread decree’ of 1993. It also indicates that the baguette is free of any additives or preservatives.
Baguette – A regular baguette could contain extra ingredients like grains, cereals or nuts – or any chemical additives or preservatives.
Boulanger de France – This label is relatively new in France – it was launched in 2020 in order to help differentiate artisinal bakeries from industrial ones. In order to obtain the label, then the bakery must respect certain quality regulations (eg. salt dosage used in bread, and specific recipes and manufacturing methods). Also, boulangers who apply for this label also commit themselves to favouring seasonal products.
Other French labels you might come across
Fait maison – this means ‘home made’ in French, and the logo for this type of dish looks like a little house.
You might see this label when at a restaurant or when buying food. In essence, it means that the dish was cooked on the spot. It also means that the dish was made with unprocessed ingredients, and that the only processed ingredients are those listed HERE.
Made in France (or Fabriqué en France) – It may be a bit misleading, but the label “Made in France” does not mean that 100 percent of the manufacturing steps for the product were carried out in France, but it signifies that a significant part were indeed done in France. This label is applied primarily to “consumer and capital goods”, but it can also be attributed to certain agricultural, food and cosmetic products, according to the French ministry of economy.
In order to qualify for this label, a part of the French customs body (Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes or DGCCRF) must authorise the label. If a product simply contains colours associated with France or a French flag, that does not necessarily mean it was entirely produced in France.
The penalties for falsely using a “Made in France” label, which are laid out in the French consumer code (article L. 132-2) are up to two years imprisonment and a fine of up to €300,000, which may be increased, depending on whether there were benefits derived from the offence.
Origine France Garantie – This label is awarded by the “Pro France association” to both food and non-food products that can prove to have had the majority of manufacturing operations (at least 50 percent of its per unit cost) carried out in France and that the parts of the product that constitute its ‘essential characteristics’ were manufactured and produced in France.
Terre textile – This label attests that at least 75 percent of the textile product’s manufacturing was carried out in the French geographical area that it references – for example the label would indicate a part of France, like Alsace, and then below it would say “Terre textile”.
The holiday season in Europe is a magical time, and nothing captures the spirit of Christmas quite like the enchanting Christmas markets. These markets, steeped in tradition and festive cheer, offer visitors a chance to... Read more
By Spoko 06.12.2023
Establish a Budget: Plan out goals for the next 6 months Build Credit History: Establishing good credit is crucial for financial stability. Consider getting a secured credit card, paying bills on time, and keeping your... Read more
By Spoko 22.11.2023
Here are a few common money transfer scams to watch out for: Phishing Scams: These involve receiving fraudulent emails, messages, or calls pretending to be from a reputable institution, asking for personal information or prompting... Read more
By Spoko 08.11.2023
The difference between buying and selling currency for banks and currency exchange offices is one of the main sources of profit. Internet exchangers, thanks to the nationwide scale of operations, can afford to show significantly... Read more
By Spoko 02.11.2023
Airfare pricing is extremely complex, with algorithms changing fares minute by minute. It puts the average consumer at a significant disadvantage and far too often results in travelers overpaying for flights. Here are 10 tips... Read more
By Spoko 25.10.2023
The popularity of online interviews has certainly peaked since COVID. Preparing for an online interview is crucial for success. Here are some tips to help you get ready: 🧑🏾💻Test your technology: Ensure your internet connection,... Read more
By Spoko 18.10.2023
Dual citizenship, or multiple citizenship, is when a single person is legally recognized as a citizen of two or more countries at the same time. Not all countries allow their citizens to hold dual citizenship.... Read more
By Spoko 11.10.2023
Moving to Portugal is possible on the basis of business, study, joining a family member, to retire, marriage. The standard legalization procedure includes opening a visa, obtaining a residence permit, and after 5 years –... Read more
By Spoko 04.10.2023
Can my pet fly with me? Yes, in many cases, your dog can fly with you on a plane, either in the cabin or the cargo hold. However, as you might imagine, airlines have tons... Read more
By Spoko 27.09.2023
Issues with documents are now more relevant than ever. One of the options for legalization in Europe is a residence permit in Germany. It is provided for a specific purpose, such as study, work or... Read more
By Spoko 13.09.2023
Moving to Germany and getting a job is now easier than ever. Germany reforms Skilled Work Immigration Law to open up new job opportunities for foreigners. Now there would be 4 main ways for an... Read more
By Spoko 30.08.2023
Opening a bank account is one of the important steps you need to fully settle down in Germany. Opening a bank account in Germany is not a problem if you have the necessary documents. Documents... Read more
By Spoko 23.08.2023
The matter is that the VAT tax usually goes on maintenance of pensions of citizens of the EU countries. That is why a person who does not have EU citizenship can get back the money... Read more
By Spoko 02.08.2023
Working as a taxi driver in Poland can be an attractive opportunity for those who want to earn money and have a driving license or even a car. However, before you start working as a... Read more
By Spoko 27.07.2023
Generally speaking, Italy is known for its diverse offerings, and expenses can differ significantly between urban and rural areas. Here are some key aspects of the cost of living in Italy:• Housing: The cost of... Read more
By Spoko 20.07.2023
In Germany, as in other countries, various mobile applications are very popular, which open up many opportunities for the local population and make people’s lives more comfortable. Application for finding accommodationImmoScout24.de is a mobile app... Read more
By Spoko 12.07.2023
As you embark on your much-awaited vacation, it’s important to ensure your financial security while enjoying your time away. Check out these unique tips that will help you keep your finances in check and have... Read more
By Spoko 23.06.2023
Are you considering moving to Spain or curious about the cost of living in the country? Spain, known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and rich history, attracts expatriates from all around the world. However,... Read more
By Spoko 05.06.2023
Registering a car in Germany can seem like a daunting process for those who are unfamiliar with the country’s regulations and bureaucracy. However, it is essential to follow the correct procedure to ensure that your... Read more
By Spoko 19.04.2023
Almost 80% of Germans are members of bonus programs. Here are some popular programs in Germany that can help you save money: Cashback programs: PAYBACK and DeutschlandCard are two popular multi-partner loyalty programs that offer... Read more
By Spoko 06.04.2023
If you are planning to live and work in Germany, it is important to understand the country’s tax system. Here are some key things you need to know about taxes in Germany: Tax types: There... Read more
By Spoko 14.03.2023
With more experts believing a cashless future is in sight, the digital payments market continues to grow rapidly. In fact, the worldwide digital payments segment is expected to reach a value of $9.47 trillion (£7.67 trillion) by... Read more
By Spoko 22.02.2023
Expats in Germany have a variety of options for learning the German language, including: Meetup groups: Meetup is a platform that connects people with common interests, and there are many German language Meetup groups in... Read more
By Spoko 06.02.2023
In France, there are many different types of étiquette to be aware of when purchasing food, drink or other products. However, this étiquette does not have to do with behaviour – rather it is the French word... Read more
By Spoko 27.01.2023
Getting married abroad can be a beautiful and romantic experience, but it also requires some extra planning and preparation. Here are some key steps to take when planning a destination wedding: Research the legal requirements:... Read more
By Spoko 23.01.2023
Personal budgeting is an important aspect of financial management, as it helps individuals and households to track their income and expenses and make informed decisions about how to allocate their money. By creating and following... Read more
By Spoko 09.01.2023
There are many stories about giving birth on an airplane, and the child received foreign citizenship. This is true, but there are many nuances. Attention, it isn’t recommended to fly on the last dates. But... Read more
By Spoko 23.12.2022
The question of a profitable buy or sale of currency is always relevant: someone changes small amounts before or after trips, someone accumulates currency, periodically buying it in large portions, and someone is trying to... Read more
By Spoko 11.12.2022
According to statistics, the Euro is forged 10 times more than the national currency of any other country. The banknote of 20 and 50 euros are most often forged, less often a 500 euro bill.... Read more
By Spoko 16.11.2022
Let’s start with the good news: since March 2020, the law on labor migration has come into force in Germany, which cancels the previous one “on composing competition for local specialists”. What does it mean?... Read more
By Spoko 06.11.2022
After the start of the COVID‑19 pandemic, the need for remote work increased: many lost their jobs or lost their salaries and were forced to urgently look for work without violating the self-isolation regime. Fraudsters... Read more
By Spoko 17.10.2022
What is it? The Purchasing Card is available to Italian citizens who apply for it and who meet the legal requirements (Legislative Decree No. 112 of 2008) and can be used in grocery stores, pharmacies... Read more
By Spoko 06.09.2022
The Swiss insurance agency Swisslife calculated that from birth to 20 years of age, a child will cost parents 200,000 francs or 203,873 euros on average. This cost will include: food, clothing, education and leisure.... Read more
By Spoko 20.07.2022
A postcard with a picture of the Eiffel tower, a bite of warm croissant, and the dreams of Cote-d-Azur…If France is far more than a nice travel idea, you might want to consider altering the... Read more
By Spoko 21.03.2022
Send money directly from your saved cards via Apple Pay at Spoko.app With Apple Pay you don’t have to enter your card info every time. You should have a valid source of funds, such as... Read more
By Spoko 10.02.2022
Investment is not just another fancy word from the BBC morning business review. With proper knowledge, skills, and ideas in this sphere even people with a standard office clerk paycheck might get a stable passive... Read more
By Spoko 10.02.2022
Tasty food, lovely seacoast, and eternal dolce vita… This is exactly how we see Italy from TV screens or in the media. It seems as if the sun and smiles of local people just can’t... Read more
By Spoko 29.01.2022
Send money directly from your saved cards via Google Pay at Spoko.app With Google Pay you don’t have to enter your card info every time. You should have a valid source of funds, such as... Read more
By Spoko 26.01.2022
Going on a trip, despite being fun and exciting, is also about solving some specific issues, preparing, and arranging a ton of stuff. Thinking about random accidents, sicknesses, and force majeure, that might ruin your... Read more
By Spoko 18.01.2022
Money has the unique quality to bring us the feeling of simultaneous comfort and stress. Financial freedom lifts us, and the opportunity to earn more grants new possibilities and ways of living. But at the... Read more
By Spoko 09.01.2022
Living in the era of open borders and information about any foreign country makes us want to shift the pattern of living in the same place forever. People tend to think more about changing the... Read more
By Spoko 29.12.2021
People constantly ask questions. This is how we satisfy the basic need of getting new knowledge. But sometimes trying to chase that last bit of information somehow leads to crossing the personal boundaries of others.... Read more
By Spoko 18.12.2021
Money is never enough. Everyday bills, much-awaited presents, some big spending – consume your budget inch by inch. And even if your paycheck has a lot of zeros in it, inconsiderate wasting will quickly leave... Read more
By Spoko 08.12.2021
There were times when beach holidays could mean just one season – summer. We are so happy those are finally over. Because now anyone can get a piece of warm sea fun throughout the whole... Read more
By Spoko 30.11.2021
Work is a major part of every adult’s life. It’s the way to make money, socialize with other people, and a great reinforcement for our skills and abilities. But it might happen that a stressful... Read more
By Spoko 24.11.2021
Moving to a foreign country is almost like flying to another planet. Everything needs to be done from scratch – getting to know the new culture and customs, building personal infrastructure, constantly learning something. For... Read more
By Spoko 12.11.2021
To build a career and maintain good relations in the team, it is necessary to comply with the so-called work ethic – unspoken norms and traditions that are not spelled out in the employment contract,... Read more
By Spoko 03.11.2021
Modern parents are sometimes unhappy about how their kids don’t know the value of money. The manifesto of non-stop “buy me this and that” is tiring to manage, as well as total ignorance on how... Read more
By Spoko 22.10.2021
We live in a world where almost any information can be easily accessible. On one hand, it grants our generation the possibility to gain basic knowledge and skills, but on the other – compromises our... Read more
By Spoko 15.10.2021
If the decision to move to Europe has already been made, all the documentation has been prepared, and a move date has been set, you still have a lot of work to do with your... Read more
By Spoko 26.09.2021