Rungis Market celebrates 50 years

Rungis International Market, on the outskirts of Paris, is the largest wholesale food market in the world. At 50 years old, and in the age of the internet and e-commerce, the market has not lost any of its freshness or size: covering 234 hectares, it involves 1,200 companies, 12,500 employees and 9,500 tons of fresh produce each day.

It was in February 1969 that the market in Les Halles moved from the heart of Paris to the southern suburbs, for reasons of congestion and (already) improved good food hygiene practices. Flowers, seafood, fruit, vegetables and dairy products were transferred first, and the meat pavilion followed in January 1973. This was also the year, following the entry into force of the Lomé Agreements between the EEC and the ACP States, when the organisation that would soon become COLEACP was created. Mr Libert Bou was appointed by General de Gaulle to move from Les Halles de Paris to Rungis and was the first CEO of Rungis International Market (1969–76) – and became COLEACP’s first General Delegate in 1976.

Since then, every night the market has started up with the fish and shellfish of the Tide Pavillion. Fruit and vegetables are Rungis’ flagship products, with seven halls dedicated to them, accounting for 70% of the fresh produce received. Rungis is also a model for recycling its waste – the energy produced by incineration is used to heat the market and surrounding areas in winter, and green waste is transformed into compost. Rungis is managed by SEMMARIS, which also promotes the model internationally.

COLEACP has also grown with Rungis, serving the needs of companies including market-based importers and the EU-ACP fruit and vegetable sector more generally. So, happy 50th birthday to Rungis and best wishes for happiness, prosperity and sustainability!