Martin Lange / Photo credit: STEVEN WASSENAAR / HANS LUCAS / HANS LUCAS VIA AFP 12:07 p.m., December 06, 2023

With three weeks to go before the holidays, the flagship products of traditional meals have appeared on the stalls of the Rungis international market. Scallops, capons, oysters and foie gras were among the things that were out and about. In the temple of beauty and goodness, professionals are looking for bargains despite inflation.


What to put in your shopping basket for Christmas? At the Rungis International Market, the star products of the holidays have started to appear. In the Tidal sector, the first to open at night is the effervescence. Quite a few beasts are on display: tuna over a metre long, swordfish but also Christmas classics: salmon, oysters and especially scallops, a seasonal product.

The scallop, star of the holidays

"We've had a great season, it's a premium quality product. The shells come from the Bay of Seine. That's alive. This, raw, with a little herbs, lemon, white grapes, it's the best," says Franck Violleau, purchasing director of Reynaud, one of the wholesalers in the sector. A recipe endorsed by Michelin-starred chef Pierre Sang, who accompanies Europe 1 on its tour of the market. Scallops are a holiday star, as are shrimp or oysters, whose sales can increase tenfold during the month of December.

And the good news is that prices are falling, especially on two of the Christmas flagships. "I'm zooming in on two Christmas staples, namely shrimp and oysters. Both of these products are declining this year. On your shelves, these are products that will be cheaper than last year. For example, on a fifty-piece hamper of Quiberon oysters, the price will drop to between five and ten euros, I think," says Stéphane Reynaud, owner of the largest fishmonger on the market.

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Falling prices

This month is crucial for all fishmongers but also poultry farmers. "The star product of the holidays is the capon. We have the black capons of Bigorre. That's a product that's still extra. It's one of our most expensive products, so we didn't order many because we have a certain clientele for it," says Julien, a salesman at Courtin Hervouet. And for smaller budgets, he has a ready-made solution: "You have to bet on the free-range capon, the big capon, either the mini capon or the hen.

It's the cheapest thing right now." The wholesaler has ordered 5,000 boxes of poultry for the month of December and has hired a dozen people out of 60 employees; A good overview of the increase in activity.

Almost all of the wholesalers surveyed did not increase their prices. "If I compare it to last year, it looks a little better than last year, which was a complicated year with inflation and the aftermath of Covid-19. Well, this year, people don't necessarily have more money, but I think they want to treat themselves. I think it's going to be a good Christmas, I hope," the seller concluded. Foie gras even benefits from a significant price reduction: around 20%. Only exotic fruits remain expensive, due to the increase in the cost of transport.