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What will the anti-inflation basket look like?

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What will the anti-inflation basket look like?

Energy cheques, fuel cheques, inflation cheques… Faced with the rise in prices which affects all daily expenses, the government is multiplying its nudges. To guarantee access to food products, the prices of which have increased by an average of 12% in 2022, Bercy is once again using creativity. Latest project: the establishment of an anti-inflation basket proposed by Olivia Grégoire, Minister Delegate in charge of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Trade, Crafts and Tourism. Inspired by a Greek initiative whose results are positive (with a 25% price reduction on a basket of 51 products), this system would be the responsibility of distributors. A good way to avoid the government to get its hands on the wallet this time.

Aim for iconic everyday purchases

On the menu, a list of 20 products offered at low prices. If the detail is not known, everything suggests that we should find the emblematic household purchases, namely bread, rice, pasta, yogurt and many more. This catalog, which will not be defined by the government to respect competition between brands, will be developed by each distributor, on a voluntary basis. To help consumers, a website will be set up to list the different products and allow them to choose from among their needs.


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This project, which could be applied from March, seems relatively well accepted by the brands. Questioned by Capital, most say they are in favor of its execution. “We are always willing to find solutions to bring down inflation and preserve consumers’ purchasing power,” says Didier Duhaupand, president of Les Mousquetaires (Intermarché). Opinion shared by Michel Biero, Executive Director of Purchasing and Marketing at Lidl France, “we are always up for it and if there is a collective movement, we will do it”. And that of adding to have already started to work with its teams to list the articles concerned. “There will be fruits & vegetables, fresh with dairy products and charcuterie, coffee, cereals, preserves…”.

Many questions

However, this device raises many questions because the contours and modalities are still unclear. Will the products be national brands or private labels? And above all, what will be the price applied? A priori the government advances the idea of ​​selling at cost price. This means that the store sells a product at the price at which it bought it itself, without making a margin. The problem is that today, and within the framework of the Egalim law, brands are required to generate at least a 10% margin on sales. It would therefore be necessary to review the legislative contours and make exceptions.


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Another gray area, will the anti-inflation basket add to (or replace) the promotional operations already carried out by distributors? Because the signs do not hesitate to activate this lever for several months to retain consumers: the anti-inflation shield of Leclerc, the campaigns on “hundreds of products at blocked prices” at Casino, Intermarché, Lidl or Carrefour. It is therefore common to see “punch” operations with, for example, a fillet of oranges or lemons at 0.99 euros, a batch of four bifidus yoghurts at 0.85 euros, eight slices of ham at 1, 85 euro… “We did not wait for the government’s proposal to charge attractive prices”, underlines the spokesperson for Système U, Thierry Desouches. Same story in the ranks of the group of Alexandre Bompard (Carrefour), “we have already launched similar initiatives for over a year”.

A meeting in Bercy at the end of the week

Should we therefore see in this government proposal yet another announcement effect to comfort the consumer? Because a list of 20 everyday products out of the 20,000 to 30,000 references offered in stores seems to be a bit short… “You have to know what you’re talking about. Everyday needs are not the same for everyone, whether it’s a family with children, pets or single people,” adds Didier Duhaupand.


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Questions that the government will have to answer. “There would be a meeting on the subject at Bercy at the end of the week”, advances Michel Biero.

Between the Descrozaille law, which wants to modify the framework of commercial negotiations with manufacturers, and this anti-inflation project, distributors are put to the test at the start of the year.

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