• Inflation is particularly high in France in the food sector, and consumers are tightening their belts (and their stomachs) more and more.

  • To cope with this, large retailers offer many offers, promotions, discount cards, etc.

  • Commercial gestures that aim to build customer loyalty, which is particularly volatile in this period of rising prices.

The trolley is lighter than usual, the hesitation takes longer when picking up a product, the eye sharper in search of a promotion or a good deal.

Inflation is hitting France hard, and is particularly felt in supermarkets.

"It's when you go shopping that you notice the problem, and how crazy the cost of living has become," says Thibaut, a young Parisian in his thirties in a Carrefour in the 9th arrondissement.

The rise in prices reached 4.8% over one year in April, according to INSEE, including 3.8% for the food sector.

Some products are particularly affected: according to IRI (Information Resources, Inc.), between April 2021 and April 2022, the price of pasta rose by 15.31%, that of mustard by 9.26%, 9.98%, flours 10.93% and frozen meats 11,

Also according to INSEE, household consumption fell "significantly" in March, by 1.3%.

"This is mainly due to the decline in food consumption (- 2.5%)," said the National Institute of Statistics.

Thibaut can attest to this: “Meat or fresh fruit is finite.

Too expensive for what it feeds.

Loyalty operation

Sébastien Corrado, executive general manager of Casino hypermarkets and supermarkets, refuses to be fatalistic: "Our mission, as a large brand, is precisely to support our customers as well as possible and to help them in preserving their power to purchase ".

Casino, Carrefour, Lidl… large retailers are multiplying initiatives.

Casino, always, for example launched a series of measures, the “purchasing power pack”.

Among them, the subscription to Casino Max, for 45 euros per year until the end of June (90 euros thereafter).

This offers 10% discount on all products.

All fruit and vegetables are 1 euro per kilo on Thursday and Friday, and the difference with the "real" price is reimbursed in vouchers in stores.

The operation has a double advantage: to increase the purchasing power of customers, and to retain them.

"In times of inflation, our priority is even more to support our customers and satisfy them on a daily basis, in controlling their shopping budget. It's a win-win situation", explains Sébastien Corrado.

200,000 customers have already been convinced by the subscription, according to the director, who adds: "When buyers take out a subscription with us, it builds their loyalty and they do more shopping in our stores".

Boost purchasing power, therefore, to enjoy it at home.

frivolous customers

Because in times of inflation, the customer is unfaithful, because in search of the best prices on each product, informs an article of the New York Times.

A habit confirmed by Johanne, a psychologist in Montpellier: “I go to Franprix for fresh and organic food.

The first price products, I buy them at Leader Price.

The frozen, at Carrefour.

It's quite a program and a lot of time.

But time is saving money”.

Hence, in particular, the compensation by voucher, which “forces” the customer to do the rest of his shopping in the store concerned.

An option chosen by Leclerc in its “anti-inflation shield” operation, launched on May 4.

“Systematic compensation in vouchers” will be offered to customers in the event of a price increase on 120 products among “the most purchased each day in E. Leclerc centers”, indicates the brand.

The measure runs until July 31.

Encourage consumption at home

Carrefour offers two subscriptions: first, “Carrefour + daily”, with a monthly cost of 5.99 euros and offering up to 15% reduction on more than 7,000 Carrefour brand products.

Then, “Carrefour + fresh market”, at 7.99 euros per month, and allowing a maximum reduction of 15% on all fresh products.

Subscriptions that inflate customer purchases.

The subscription to Casino Max becomes profitable from 50 euros of expenditure per month in the store (and 100 as soon as the subscription returns to 90 euros per year).

“Carrefour + daily” is profitable from 40 euros of purchase of eligible products and “Carrefour + fresh market” from 64 euros of purchase.

Michel Biero, Lidl Purchasing Director, does not say anything else: "The idea of ​​a card is to build customer loyalty and that he comes to shop with us rather than with others".

Lidl offers an application, the Lidl + card, free and downloadable on all smartphones.

It allows once a month to benefit from a 5% reduction on all of its races.

“The customer is not going to use it just to buy a pack of water,” quips Michel Biero.

He will make many purchases, in order to benefit as much as possible from the reduction.

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Government instruction

The initiatives also come directly from above, since the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, summoned the large retailers "to ask (him) to support the French in the fight against inflation", informs Michel Biero.

Whatever, therefore, if all the operations are not profitable for the signs, the cause goes beyond.

The actors of the large distribution "have gained a lot - a lot, a lot - in 2020: they have been, with the closed restaurants, extremely busy, so they can concede a little margin today, affirmed Christiane Lambert, boss of the Federation. association of farmers' unions (FNSEA) on BFMTV.

It is true that it is difficult for them, but they have the means.

»

It doesn't matter to Johanne whether these initiatives are pure philanthropy, customer loyalty or a government directive: “every reduction counts and is good to take in this period”.

Even if, here again, “sorting between all the offers is becoming more and more complicated.

Like what, in times of inflation, the miracle solution does not exist.

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  • Economy

  • Inflation

  • purchasing power

  • Supermarket

  • Retail

  • Cost

  • Price

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