Cost-conscious French consumers are giving up fish, buying cheaper meat and ditching organic food to save money when they shop, the boss of Europe’s largest grocery retailer said on Tuesday.
Arrefour CEO Alexandre Bompard said economists’ debates about when inflation would peak were futile and what mattered was consumers’ new, entrenched approach to saving when shopping.
“They go for the lowest prices, sales. I will not buy beef, but the cheapest pork; I will not buy fish; I will not buy organic products,” Bompard said.
“This phenomenon is there and it is profound and has been gaining momentum in recent weeks,” he said at a roundtable at the annual post-summer conference of French employers’ federation Medef.
He said Carrefour and its food industry competitors had adapted to the new frugal mindset with advertising campaigns to freeze the prices of a range of everyday products.
Inflation has risen to record levels in major economies over the last year, initially due to tight supply chains in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and more recently soaring energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
Inflation in Carrefour’s home market of France reached 6.8% in July, the highest rate since France began using the European Union’s methodology to calculate the data in the early 1990s.
France has passed on the cost of high inflation to consumers more aggressively than other eurozone countries, capping gas and electricity prices and increasing incomes, with pay rises for civil servants and pensioners and subsidies for the poor.
French bank Credit Mutuel chief Nicolas Thery said at the same roundtable that a new inflation regime was taking root that would leave it well above the European Central Bank’s 2% target.
“I think we’re going to have inflation around 3% or more,” Thery said, citing companies repatriating overseas factories post-COVID and the green energy transition as reasons.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/agri-business/agri-food/carrefour-ceo-says-inflation-crisis-has-consumers-snubbing-organic-food-41949420.html Carrefour CEO says the inflationary crisis has made consumers reject organic food