Why choose Hauts-de-France to set up your agri-food business?

4 May 2022
Estimated reading time : 5 minutes
Why choose Hauts-de-France to set up your agri-food business?
4 May 2022
Estimated reading time : 5 minutes

Do you have a development project in the agri-food industry and are looking for the ideal location?

At this stage, you have listed the key success factors of your project while taking into account the specificities of the sector. You are therefore looking for an area that brings together:

  • A dense ecosystem of suppliers and partners
  • Accessible and multiple transportation infrastructures
  • A ready and qualified workforce
  • Sites that are suitable for the development of an agri-food project at low cost

Now, you will assess several territories based on the criteria you have identified.

Discover the advantages of the Hauts-de-France region for project leaders in the agri-food industry.

Not enough time to read this article?
Download our pdf “5 reasons to invest in Hauts-de-France”.

Hauts-de-France, the 3rd largest agri-food region in France

The Hauts-de-France region is one of the leading regions in France in the agri-food sector. It is the leading exporter of agri-food products.

In terms of workforce, it ranks 3rd with over 45,000 employees working in the agri-food industry. 1,300 agri-food companies are already established in the region, with a total turnover of over 10 billion euros.

Finally, the Hauts-de-France region regularly demonstrates its attractiveness with new investments made by agri-food companies, both in terms of setting up and development.

Apart from the figures, the power of the agri-food sector in Hauts-de-France is also due to the diversity of its production.

“All sectors are represented in Hauts-de-France, whether they be fruit and vegetables, sugar, meat, pastry, everything related to seafood around Boulogne-sur-Mer. Our region is one of the most diversified in France in terms of business activities. “
Philippe Hincelin, Director – Agro-Sphères

Hauts-de-France, the 3rd largest agri-food region in France

This diversity can be explained by the abundance of agricultural production and regional fishing resources. The region has 40 agricultural productions that rank among the top 5 French productions. For instance, it is the leader in the production of beets, wheat and peas.

The agricultural abundance of the Hauts-de-France region, the fertility of its land and the know-how of its farmers are major assets for agri-food companies:

  • At the primary processing level
  • For the manufacturing of processed products and for niche markets, due to the vitality of the ecosystem

Among the agri-food companies located in the region, one can find:

  • Several large international groups: Häagen-Dasz, Refresco, McCain, Barilla…
  • Regional companies that have become leaders in their markets: Bonduelle, Roquette…
  • A dense network of innovative SMEs

A highly preferred location in the heart of Europe

Hauts-de-France occupies an exceptional geographical position at the crossroads between France, Benelux, England and Germany.

By choosing Hauts-de-France, you can reach a huge and prosperous market within 3 hours by truck. Indeed, the region is located in the heart of the densest and richest consumer area in Europe.

Within a radius of 300 kilometers, you have access to:

  • 78 million consumers*.
  • 1500 billion euros of purchasing power*.

Not only does the region offer you a favored gateway to your markets, but from a logistical point of view, it also has a transportation infrastructure that facilitates connections between the major cities located in the area.

London, Cologne, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels are accessible in less than 3 hours. Charles de Gaulle airport is less than one hour from Lille.

The region also has advantages for maritime transport. Dunkirk and Calais are respectively the 3rd and 4th largest French ports for goods. Rotterdam, Europe’s main commercial port, is also less than 3 hours from the Hauts-de-France.

This privileged location is an important asset for companies that set up in the region, as it allows them to quickly access their markets. However, certain sectors, such as the snacking industry, need to be at the heart of or close to their catchment area.

The region’s geographic location also allows for faster delivery to customers and optimizes the shelf life of products on mass retail shelves.

*Experian ph 2011

Hauts-de-France: an exceptional geographical position in Europe

Available labor at affordable costs

The agri-food industry employs about 45,000 people in the Hauts-de-France region, which represents nearly 11% of jobs in the AFI nationwide. The sector accounts for 15.7% of manufacturing jobs in Hauts-de-France.
For companies, this means that the region has a strong agricultural and agri-food culture. From skilled operators to production engineers or quality managers, you will find the right profiles for your project development in Hauts-de-France.

Here, the cost of a qualified operator is extremely competitive for all the agri-food businesses:

  • For production jobs, Hauts-de-France is 3% less expensive than the average of its European competitors and 6% less expensive than its French competitors
  • For logistics jobs, Hauts-de-France is 18% less expensive than the average of its European competitors and 3% less expensive than its French competitors

Do you need specific data? Compare the wage costs in the agri-food industry in major European cities with our free tool.

The training offer in Hauts-de-France also shows a willingness to position itself across the entire range of agri-food businesses, particularly in the areas of:

  • food processes
  • nutrition
  • food safety
  • marketing and innovation

Schools and university centers of excellence such as the ISA in Lille or UniLaSalle in Beauvais train experts in agriculture, agronomy, health and nutrition.

Setting up solutions tailored to agri-food projects

Projects in the agri-food sector have specific real estate needs:

  • large surfaces
  • large utility capacities (water, gas, electricity)
  • accessibility and logistic facilities

The Hauts-de-France region offers many available surfaces that meet these requirements.

Discover the buildings and land that are available in the region in our special catalog.

The region is also very competitive in terms of real estate costs. On average, they are 28% lower than elsewhere in Europe. See for yourself with our real estate cost comparator!

In addition, the local authorities are committed to making the process easier for investors in the region, particularly through the setting up contract.

Find your ideal agrifood location in Hauts-de-France


Hauts-de-France meets the specific needs of agri-food companies on several key criteria.

The region is located in the heart of a dense economic area with high purchasing power. The transportation infrastructure provides quick connections to suppliers, partners and customers.

Hauts-de-France also has a strong agricultural and agri-food culture. The workforce is available and willing. The presence of high-performance training and R&D centers is also an advantage for companies that wish to develop their activities here.

Finally, many sites that are suitable for the needs of the agri-food industry are available at low cost.

Are you planning to set up a new production site in the Hauts-de-France region? Nord France Invest, the regional economic promotion agency, can help you with your project.

Want to know more? Find out about all the trends and opportunities in the French market in our guide to the agri-food industry in France.

Agri-food: what are the new trends? Download our exclusive white paper.