Inflation is already on the shelves of supermarkets

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published on Friday, April 29, 2022 at 5:13 p.m.

“Ah, a kilo of couscous first price is 1.29 euros! A year ago, it was 0.96”: on the shelves of supermarkets in France, volunteers from the consumer association Familles Rurales methodically raise product prices and inflation of many are sensitive.

In one year there is a 34% increase in this store for the first price of semolina or 12% for the pasta of the supermarket brand … “On the other hand, the rice has not moved”, notes Catherine Cahuzac.

This energetic retiree, an energy engineer, scans the shelves of a giant supermarket in Val-de-Marne, Paris, without a trolley or shopping bag. “I come to this mall from time to time for clothes, but for food, it’s too big for me,” he explained on Thursday.

For the second time this week, she is going to spend several hours in the store, with her phone in hand – “you have to remember to recharge it before you come …” – and just one concern: to find the right reference price in an app developed by Rural Families.

Like a hundred volunteer “guards” of the club, she lists once a quarter the prices charged by the supermarkets near her house.

Objective, for the club: to calculate the budget that a typical family (two adults, a teenager and a child) should devote to their food, in order to be fed according to the national healthy eating plan. That is, eating healthy, respecting seasonality, the environment and health.

At its last price observatory in January, the union had estimated that the average food budget needed to feed this typical family was at least € 450 a month, with fewer products changing, € 696 with first-time consumption, € 765 with national brand. products (such as Panzani, Danone for example) and could climb up to 1,148 euros for all organic.

The exercise is a bit tedious for Antonis’s volunteer. But it does provide valuable information on shelf inflation.

The current inventory shows a sharp increase in wheat-based products, especially in raw prices and private labels, areas where agricultural raw material weighs most of the total cost of production.

– New increases in vision –

“We are seeing expected inflation,” Nadia Ziane, director of consumption at Familles Rurales, told AFP. “Purchasing power today is very much changed for families, especially since all the necessities have increased, not only wheat, but also energy or fuel.”

Amid a recovery in consumption after the lockdown, rising logistics costs, raw materials, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the whole world has been experiencing a general rise in prices for months. France is no exception, despite the numerous measures taken by the government to reduce the phenomenon.

Familles Rurales invites consumers to buy fewer flabby products, such as pasta, and more products that are “equally interesting nutritionally” but less expensive, such as lentils.

But there are no alternatives to fruits and vegetables, and their importance “makes them proportionally the most expensive food budget,” notes Nadia Ziane. At the beginning of the year, the Familles Rurales had sounded the alarm bell for their price spike, almost 10% in two years, and could continue.

The union calls for food control promised by Emanuel Macron during his campaign to be linked to “products valued in the national health plan”.

The move is to be expected anyway, as food inflation is expected to worsen further: the annual negotiations between the agri-food sector and large retailers have not been enough to pass on production costs and various actors are again discussing price increases. could be seen on the shelves at the beginning of the school year.

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