Made in France: Shop for Quality Artisanal Products

Made in France: Shop for Quality Artisanal Products
Once a bit of a trend, the Made in France ethos is in full force. It’s an art of living that French consumers are adhering to. They believe French-made products represent a guarantee of value and durability, and they’re willing to pay more for quality merchandise. A little history of artisanal goods or why the cream rises to the top. Industrialization in France happened at a much slower rate than in England, and the change to mass production lagged behind. Yet, small-scale industry in France was more secure than in other countries, because the demand for French luxury goods ensured the employment of highly skilled artisanal workers. In the early days, skilled artisans producing French goods were part of an extensive social fraternity called compagnons. Compagnonnage dated back to the Middle Ages when apprentices, or compagnons, were extensively trained by masters in one of six areas: wood, stone, metal, copper, leather/ textiles, and the culinary trades. These artists in training made a tour de France, traveling the country to diversify their talents and gain new techniques. Never considered working class, these artisans were expected to open their own shops and ateliers upon their return. During the Industrial Revolution, France’s towns grew at different rates and at different times. Industrialization left cities like Orleans and Dijon alone. Other towns like Saint-Etienne grew because of their facility in textile manufacture and metal work. Lyon’s success was guaranteed due to its reputation as a silk manufacturing center. But by the end of the 19th century, the majority of French craftspeople weren’t found in faceless factories or dark mills. Stoneware pottery from Manufacture de Digoin. Courtesy of Digoin/ Facebook Why is “Made in France” so important? Made in France or Fabriqué en France is an actual merchandise mark, not a slogan. It’s a certification that governing bodies give to authentic products, once they have satisfied the criteria of French manufacture, product safety, respect for the environment, and the assurance of good working conditions. Labeling is taken very seriously. The product must be planned and packaged in France with a significant part of the manufacturing done within the country. The Made in France campaign has much in common with the Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (EPV), a Living Heritage Company. Created in 2005, the EPV is an official French label given for a five-year term, under the authority of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance. It honors French companies with excellent artisanal and industrial expertise. After a rigorous selection process, it’s awarded to establishments who know how to merge innovation with traditional heritage. Buying Made in France is largely an ethical choice. The global health crisis with incumbent snags in supply chains, puts everyone, including France, in the same boat. It’s a reminder to consume locally and responsibly.

Lead photo credit : Chocolate assortment from Maison Miot. © Maison Francis Miot/ Facebook

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A freelance writer and amateur historian, Hazel knew she wanted to focus on the lives of French artists and femme fatales after an epiphany at the Musée d'Orsay. A life-long learner, she is a recent graduate of Art History from the University of Toronto. Now she is searching for a real-life art history mystery to solve.