National and regional production
Salad green crops in France cover nearly 23,000 hectares. This represents less than 10% of the area devoted to vegetables (7% to be precise); a percentage that is decreasing due to both an increase in the area devoted to vegetables and a reduction in salad green crops being planted. This decline has been limited but continuous for more than ten years (-7% in ten years). It is the result of different situations depending on the category of salad greens. In this case, the reduction in surface area mainly concerns lettuces and chicories (almost -20% for both). The other varieties have remained stable or even increased moderately (lamb's lettuce, cress and «other salad greens»). These developments reflect a diversification of production that is still underway, with a reduction in traditional salad greens in favor of a greater number of more recent varieties. Lettuce now represents less than 40% of the total area devoted to salad greens (compared to almost 50% at the beginning of the 2010 decade). Lamb's lettuce and «other salad greens» contribute one-third and one-fifth of the total salad green area, respectively. Chicory (8%) and cress (1%) round out the remainder.
Monitoring the volume of production shows a similar trend to that observed for cultivated land area (Figure 1). The quantities harvested of both lettuce and chicory are decreasing (by about -15% each). The decrease appears to be slightly greater for escarole. The increase remains moderate for other types such as lamb's lettuce or cress (between 5 and 10%) or even zero for «other salad greens». The average annual production (2017-2019) of salad greens is estimated at 380,000 tonnes. Quantities over ten years are down by about -15%; that is to say a decrease of 50,000 tonnes. This reduction is a direct result of a decrease in lettuce volumes of 80%, and the remainder of chicory. Changes over ten years by variety have shown decreases (-15% and -17% respectively for chicory and lettuce), increases (+4% and +8% for cress and lamb's lettuce) and stability for «other salad greens». At the end of the decade, lettuces accounted for more than half of the quantities of salad greens produced in France (60% of total volumes). Chicory and «other salad greens» represented 15% each, while lamb's lettuce represented a little more than 10% and cress less than 1%.