Rungis International Market, Val-de-Marne, France

The Marché International de Rungis is the principal market of Paris,, intended to supply professionals from the entire region, mainly for food and horticultural products, located in the commune of Rungis, in the southern suburbs. The Rungis International Market, with an area of 234 hectares, is a real ecosystem serving French food, fresh urban logistics, promoting terroirs and gastronomic heritage. It also sees to the maintenance of the specialized retail trade and the animation of the city centers. It is the second largest wholesale food market in the world, also the largest market for agricultural products in the world.

The market is the property of the French State and administered by the Semmaris (Société d’Economie Mixte d’Aménagement et de gestion du marché d’intérêt national de Rungis), whose main missions are the development, operation, marketing and promotion of Rungis Market infrastructure. Wholesalers are plentiful and the competition is strong. Clients are professionals, distributors and restaurants.

The Rungis market is like a town in miniature. More than 12,000 people work there, the population of a small town. On site, there is a police station, a post office, a fire station and a station for freight trains. And the place has all the useful services: restaurants, travel agencies, banks, pharmacy, dry cleaners, hairdresser… There is even a school: it trains young people in the profession of fishmonger.

From its origins in the 10th century to the mid-20th century, the central market of Paris was located in the centre of the city, in a 10-hectare area named Les Halles. That became too small to accommodate all of the business demand, and, in 1969, the market was transferred to the suburbs. Rungis was selected because of its easy access by rail and highway and its proximity to Orly International Airport.

Located south of Paris, Rungis is the world’s largest market for fresh produce. The Rungis Market welcomes an exceptional variety of food products, mostly fresh, flowers, plants and decorative items. It supplies all outlets, from the most modest to the most prestigious. Shopkeepers and restaurateurs from all over France, and even from abroad, come here to stock up.

In Rungis, there is an exceptional choice of fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses… But this market is reserved for professionals. This is called a wholesale market. Only merchants and restaurateurs come here to buy enough to fill the shelves of their stores or the plates of their customers. Those who sell the products are called wholesalers. Wholesalers order the products that interest them from producers: farmers, breeders, fishermen or market gardeners…

The market starts at 1am and ends around 11am. Delivered the following night, they unload the goods in the pavilion where they work. From 2 o’clock in the morning, customers do their shopping. They choose and negotiate the products with each wholesaler, in order to obtain them at the best price. Then these are loaded into a truck, ready to reach their future point of sale.

Veterinary, phytosanitary controls and property checkouts are omnipresent. Each year, 10,000 samples are analyzed by the veterinary services laboratory (DDCSPP), which has sophisticated equipment to detect hormones in calf carcasses, parasites in game, toxins and germs in fish or preserves.

Since the Middle Ages, a vast covered market has existed in Paris. At the end of the 1960s, he moved to Rungis, at the gates of the capital. Since Antiquity, a large market has existed in Paris. In 1183, Philippe Auguste built two wooden buildings to house the large market: Les Halles. This covered bazaar then sold few food products.

Enlarged in the 13th century, the Halles opened up to merchants from the provinces. They host a wholesale food market, three times a week. In the 16th century, François I had the existing buildings demolished. He had new ones built, according to a well-ordered plan. The work will last more than 30 years! Around the halls, boutique houses serve as storage and living quarters for merchants. The market becomes daily.

In the 19th century, Les Halles have become unsanitary. Napoleon III commissioned the architect Victor Baltard to create a larger and more practical building. It consists of 10 pavilions with a metal frame, equipped with large windows. They are called “the central Halles”. Until the beginning of the 20th century. In the 1950s, President Charles de Gaulle decided to move Les Halles because its location hindered car traffic.

The market moves to Rungis, 7 kilometers south of Paris. Because of the meeting point that the Market was to represent for goods as well as for sellers, buyers and the means of information, the land was to be at the crossroads of major rail, road and air routes. It also had to offer opportunities for future development. It is now closer to the highways and Orly airport. This gigantic market has an area of 234 hectares, the equivalent of nearly 300 football pitches. There are 5 gates to enter. A circular boulevard surrounds the market, facilitating the movement of trucks.

The first blow of the pickaxe was given onFebruary 11, 1964. Among other things, it was necessary to level 3 million m 3 of earth, move the aqueducts of Vanne, Loing and Lunain, group together a series of high-voltage EDF lines and place them on gantries 104 meters wide, connect the SNCF network and the road network, build 25 km of roads and 35 hectares of car parks, lay 66,500 m of pipes, install 4,500 telephone lines, 350 telex lines and 250 internal television network sets. In 1969, the Rungis market of national interest officially opened.

Since then, many buildings have been refurbished, restructured and modernized in order to adapt to changes in consumption, customer needs and new hygiene and food safety standards. Thus, since the beginning of the 21st century, the meat pavilion has been entirely rehabilitated, the new seafood pavilion has been put into service, the area of Île-de-France fruit and vegetable producers has been created and a new logistics area for warehouses, Euro Delta, was created.

In 2016, Stéphane Layani built a new pavilion devoted to products from certified organic farming. He wants “to be able to double the supply from this agriculture in five years, from 100,000 to 200,000 tonnes”.

The Rungis market is divided into 5 universes: fruit and vegetables, fish and shellfish, meat, dairy products and flowers. Each universe has sales buildings (the pavilions) which are full of fresh produce arriving at Rungis by plane, train or truck. These come from the four corners of France and other countries of the world, like exotic fruits.

Fruit and vegetable sector
On the Rungis Market, all kinds of fruits and vegetables are present. Products from Ile-de-France or the other side of the world, forgotten or miniature fruits and vegetables… the presentation on the shelves highlights the freshness and appearance of the products selected with rigorous attention. More than one million tons are marketed each year in this sector. It is the essential place where new varieties of fruit and vegetables from all over the world are introduced and tested. Kiwi, mini vegetables or even edible flowers thus began their French career in the bays of Rungis.

The Carreau des producteurs of Rungis brings together all the producers of Ile-de-France under the same building. On the Carreau, it’s time to go in search of new flavors. Nasturtium or borage flowers, pink radishes, mesclun, fresh rhubarb, white or pink Paris mushrooms… Ile-de-France producers become guides for buyers who come to Rungis to help themselves to unearth unusual tastes and ideas, at the service of unique recipes.

The sale of fresh fruit and vegetables is as old as the existence of the halls of Paris. Even today, it is the main sector of the Rungis market with different and complementary professions. The fruit and vegetable sector is the largest in the market. It brings together more than a quarter of businesses (about 370) and fruit and vegetable wholesalers generate half of the total turnover of all wholesalers. The volumes marketed represent 70% of arrivals of food products on the physical market. Several professions make up the family of fruits and vegetables on the Rungis international market: wholesalers, brokers, import-export companies and producers.

On February 24, 2020, FranceAgriMer and Interfel, the Interprofession of fresh fruits and vegetables, published their barometer of confidence in fresh fruits and vegetable. In this favorable climate, several fundamental trends continued to develop on the Market, starting with the growth of organic. Ban citrus, a major wholesaler of all types of fruit, has created a space and a dedicated brand, Bio’Select. Similarly, Desdonner, who created Desdonner Bio in 2018, installed it on its own location.

Another remarkable phenomenon: the growth of fresh cuts. In this area, Monloup has just moved the workshops of its La Saveur d’Abord brand to save space, while waiting for something bigger. The construction of a specialized building is scheduled for 2020. In accordance with the Rungis 2019 investment plan, work continued to facilitate access and parking around the pavilions. Work on the 400-space silo car park has begun near building A2 and,

Meat products sector
In the meat products sector, all species are represented: butcher’s meat (beef, veal, lamb), pork, poultry and game, tripe… In 1973, the “Chevillards” joined the wholesalers from other sectors at Rungis. Since then, things have changed a lot. Standards have evolved, food safety has been strengthened, marketing has been structured, pavilions have been modernised, market requirements have increased and services have multiplied.

Poultry wholesalers made their revolution by integrating VG1. On the morning of April 5, 2011, Rungis’ new poultry pavilion, VG1, opened its doors to its buyers. At the time, the wholesalers who set up there made a real technological and logistical leap forward, particularly in terms of refrigeration (2°C to 4°C) and loading docks. Of around thirty poultry wholesalers who operated on the market before the inauguration of the new premises, only eight companies, ie twelve brands, remained after 2011, following mergers and concentrations.

Today, the pavilion generates some 200 million euros in turnover per year, and employs an average of 200 people during the year, more or less depending on the period. The pavilion’s customers are mainly made up of retailers, restaurateurs and supermarkets, purchasing centers or direct stores. Poultry is a sector that is doing well, with consumption up slightly, unlike all meats. It is a product that benefits from a good quality-price ratio, and few health crises have tarnished its image. The market is buoyant and French production is significant: the pavilion sells 90% to 95% of poultry from France.

The Pavillon des Viandes V1P sells butcher’s meat, carcasses and half-carcasses, and vacuum-packed muscles. The widest range of beef, veal, and lamb is offered at any time of the year with a daily selection of high quality meats, the best origins of meats and prestigious breeds with specific services adapted to customer needs.: boning, cutting, quartering, withdrawal of MRS, transport and pooled invoicing system.

Quality always makes its nest in this pavilion. You can find all the top-of-the-range farm products there, such as Bresse poultry or foie gras. The latest innovations in the sector are also present, new cuts, processing, nuggets and even complementary products such as sauces. Tripe is a particularity of French gastronomy. At Rungis, wholesalers occupy a pavilion where European health standards are respected down to the smallest detail (HACCP method, “clean” circuits, etc.). Restructured in 1995, the pavilion brings together 10 wholesalers whose stores are independent of each other and clearly identified.

Seafood and Freshwater products sector
The Rungis marine sector is one of the largest ports in France in terms of volume. Its flagship, the A4 building, is a world reference both for its infrastructure and for the quality and diversity of its products. This is the biggest sector of the Rungis market. It includes a main sales pavilion, the A4, but also a building dedicated to the sale of accessories, three warehouses and an ice tower. The 43 seafood and freshwater product companies that feature in the pavilion marketed 94,000 tonnes of goods in 2017, for a turnover approaching one billion euros. It is an immutable ballet. Every night, at 2 a.m., the tide pavilion opens its doors to allow 200-300 buyers to find their happiness among the multitude of products on offer.

The A4 pavilion with the “Under cold” technology, which unloading so that the ice does not melt before entering the sales area. The Twin cooling and air treatment systems, makes the cold is “stratified” from the ground up to 5m in height. With innovative materials: special resin on the floor and lacquered walls to facilitate daily cleaning, sinks in the posts with instant water at 30° and a spray of bactericidal soap to allow buyers to touch the products without risk of contamination. Also with efficient fire-fighting system: new material for store walls (insulating glass foam + fire barrier), compartmentalized areas and detection system to prevent and prevent the spread of fire.

Promising trends, already at the origin of the 7% increase in turnover in 2017, are driving the sector. The move upmarket is confirmed, with a market driven by several high-quality flagship products: line-caught wild sea bass, organic shrimp from Madagascar and scallops from France, the price of which was significantly higher than in 2018 as the holidays approach. Growth in seafood products also reached a very good level over the Christmas period, with, in particular, ever-increasing volumes for special oysters.

Some seafood wholesalers specialize in sushi, for example, others in French gastronomy. Objective of the services offered to buyers: to save time and make life easier for buyers and especially for restaurateurs. In the filleting workshops, the fillets are removed, prepared and calibrated. Some chefs require special weights. Thus, we deliver the goods to them or they leave with products ready to be cooked.

Dairy products and gastronomy sector
This sector hosts sales of dairy products (butter, eggs, cheese, cream, ultra-fresh) and catering (charcuterie, condiments, cooking aids, groceries, drinks, etc.). It also houses a pavilion specializing in organic products. These sectors occupy 7 large pavilions and 4 small buildings.

In the dairy and gastronomy sector, there are four catering pavilions overflowing with the best products. Since 2016, a pavilion dedicated to organic products has also been created. Charcuterie and processed products, condiments and seasonings, organic products, groceries, drinks… the catering pavilions are real treasure troves where buyers have the opportunity to flush out the best products.

The dairy products and gastronomy sector was one of the most attractive in 2018: it remains so in 2019. Total arrivals increased and gross turnover increased by 2.27%. Attendance remains stable, driven by exotic and Italian products, as well as numerous events, including the visit of Miss France in April. This phenomenon concerns both sub-sectors. As for dairy and poultry products, milk and uncooked pressed cheeses are the most dynamic.

With regard to delicatessen products, all the ranges continued to increase, charcuterie, beer, wine and spirits recorded the best performances. Italian products deserve a special mention for the constancy of their dynamism. In the spring, a survey by the YouGov-Cambridge Institute, widely relayed by the media, came to remind us that Italian cuisine is, among cuisines from elsewhere, the favorite of the French. They favor it at 93%, ahead of that of the Maghreb, at 81%, and that of China, at 80%. This enthusiasm is at the origin of many movements on the Market. In 2018, after Italdenrées in April, a new one, Pintus, made its debut at the very end of the year. In 2019, a new restaurant, Dai Cugini, opened in the organic pavilion.

The opening of the Organic Pavilion materializes the Rungis Market’s ambition to become a national benchmark for organic products, the consumption of which continues to grow in France. The offer of organic products was already provided on the first fresh produce market in the world, with nearly 70 operators selling organic in all sectors: meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables, gastronomy pavilion… But construction of this 5,600 m2 Hall, the largest devoted exclusively to organic products in Europe, strengthens the Market’s position in this category of products, to the greater benefit of producers, distributors and consumers.

Horticulture and decoration sector
The land of flowers, plants and decorative accessories, the Rungis Market offers an exceptional choice of cut flowers (an air-conditioned building), potted plants, accessories, decorative products, packaging and tableware. Producers of potted and bedding plants have joined the largest pavilion in the horticulture and decoration sector at the Rungis Market. A reorganization which aims to affirm the central role of Rungis in the flower and plant trade and consolidates a qualitative local offer. Between Avenue des Maraichers and Avenue de la Villette, the horticulture sector sets the tone….that of greenery and sunny days. Cut flowers and potted plants, trees, shrubs and even bonsais, the choice offered by the sector allows for all layouts.

In this sector, you can find more than 80,000 items to create decorations: wood and metal furniture in different styles; decorative objects and accessories; vases, trinkets, pottery, basketwork, candles, curtains, tablecloths; artificial or dried flowers and all the Christmas decorations… In terms of equipment, packaging and tableware, we find glassware and crockery, furniture (tables…), but also everything you need in terms of office, tools and packaging.

A vast reorganization of the flower sector has been initiated with the integration of potted plant growers into pavilion C1. The in-depth renovation of this building and the construction of B1 will give new impetus to the sector. Within three years, pavilion C1, the historic building of the Rungis market and flagship of the flower sector with its 22,000 m2, will have a new face. Its extensive renovation, the result of intense consultation between Semmaris and professionals, will constitute the last stage of an overall restructuring of the sector marked in pink, aimed at modernizing the tool available to producers and wholesalers on the market, and to improve its functionality and marketability.

Horticulture lives to the rhythm of major calendar events, some of which have a strong link with the vagaries of the weather. Overall, the volumes traded in cut flowers and potted plants fell in 2019. Only foliage rose. The social events that once again disrupted the festive period had an impact on activity, which fell sharply in November and December. The restructuring of the current pavilion will enable operators to optimize their work process by reducing unpacking/repacking operations.

The Rungis Market offers an unparalleled range of logistics services. Equipped with large warehouse capacities and a rail terminal, the Rungis Market is developing “last mile” logistics solutions as part of a sustainable strategy integrating new management techniques for each logistics function: stock, transport and flow control, the supply of raw materials, or even production… A non-negligible help for each company having a particularly important need in logistics.

In a context marked by the acceleration of discussions and projects related to logistics throughout the Île-de-France region, the Rungis Market consolidates, year after year, its position as the leading last-mile logistics platform in the food industry. It is also a responsibility for SEMMARIS, which has long been committed to a strategy aimed at promoting efficient logistics that respect the environment. On a daily basis, it translates into numerous actions, particularly in the field of clean transport: provision of electric charging stations, CNG gas stations, car-sharing vehicles, not to mention the nitrogen station.

SEMMARIS actively participates in discussions aimed at bringing out cleaner logistics. Signatory since 2013 of the Sustainable Urban Logistics Charter of the city of Paris, SEMMARIS is also positioning itself on calls for tenders intended to conceptualize the logistics plans of tomorrow. Finally, Rungis would like to further explore the theme of pooling, which is now emerging as a choice alternative for the “greening” of the last mile. The Marketplace fully illustrates this desire: it will offer shared logistics solutions.

The SEDAP sector (Warehouses, Delta, Administrative and Paris Rungis International sector) manages a large part of the warehouses intended for logistics as well as the administrative and tertiary areas. Significant investments are planned for this sector in line with the Market development strategy. This resulted in the construction of a three-star hotel located in the administrative sector near the Tower, as well as the renovation of a first building as part of Rungis Académie. A second building, also renovated, is intended for IFOCOP, a training organization that has already been present on the Market for many years.

Waste management
Every day, several tons of products that are unsaleable or that have not found a buyer are recovered and then sent to the market’s waste sorting centre, where they will become compost. To overcome this, a solidarity association opened its doors in Rungis in 2010. It collects good quality products that have not found a buyer, sorts them and sends them to charities in Île-de-France.

Every day, 400 to 500 tonnes of waste are collected by the firm Segex then dumped into the huge furnaces of an incineration plant. The latter makes it possible to produce enough calories to supply heating to the market itself, but also to the nearby Orly airport, thanks to a system of water heated within the incinerator, then conveyed by conduits specific, which spin along the A106 motorway. This type of heating enables the airport to save a maximum of 10 to 20% of energy.