Useful words on Food Packaging in France


If you have a food allergy/intolerance or wish to avoid certain foods it can be difficult when shopping in a foreign country.  In France many food related words are quite similar if not even identical to English eg végétarien/gluten but others are very different.  You may therefore find this list useful.

French Food Labels

Without/free from - Sans, so gluten free = sans gluten

Vegan - végétalien

Nuts - noix/noisettes

Peanuts - cacahuètes

Walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, pecans and pistachios - noix, noix du Brésil, amandes, noix de pécan et pistaches

Shellfish - fruits de mer

Fish - poisson

Mussels - moules

Wheat - blé

Soya - soja

Salt - sel

Eggs - oeufs

Milk - lait

Dairy - produits laitiers

Alcohol - alcool

Organic - Agriculture biologique/AB and BIO

Without additives - sans additifs

Without flavourings - sans arômes

Palm oil - huile de palme


Nutritional Information:

Average Nutritional Information - Valeurs nutritionells moyennes

Energy - Energie

Fat - Matières grasses

Saturated fat - (dont acides) matières grasses

Carbohydrates - Glucides

Sugar - (dont) sucres

Fibre - Fibre

Protein - Protéines


In some supermarkets there are aisles specifically for certain foods such as organic, gluten-free but not all so you may have to do a  lot of label reading.  

For those of you who are vegetarian do be aware that the idea of vegetarianism seems odd to many French who think that all vegetarians will happily eat fish or simply remove a bit of meat from their meal.  Do carefully read all the ingredients if you want vegetarian food and in restaurants be very specific that you don't want meat or fish anywhere near your plate.

If you have a real hankering for food from certain countries most larger supermarkets have an international section ... this is some of what our local supermarket in Condé-sur-Noireau has on their English aisle:

English aisle in a French supermarket


A final note on tea

As a nation the French have not really got to grips with how to make a decent cup of tea.  The do sell plenty of tea bags but even those called "English Breakfast Tea"  or suchlike will not be the same strength as what you might expect from an English brand.  If you like your tea strong I suggest you either bring your own supply or head straight to the English section.

I hope you find this list useful and if there are any other important words you think I may have missed please do leave a comment and I will add them.

Useful word on French food labels

  Lou Messugo