Inflation: how the French have changed their habits at the supermarket


An ever-increasing amount at the supermarket checkout. Inflation continues to plague the daily lives of the French, particularly during this back-to-school period, when large expenses are increasing. Tightening your belt no longer only means giving up your little pleasures, but also changing your habits at the supermarket.

While many consumers did not hesitate to favor quality over price – by consuming organic or branded products – many now choose the lowest prices on the shelves. This is particularly the case of Alice * [the first name has been modified, Editor’s note], who now puts private label products in her trolley: “I take the Leclerc brand and I have set myself a limit of two or three euros per product. Beyond that, I don’t take. Before, I bought the brand for my yoghurts, now it’s from the distributor”. If she has not yet managed to make the leap for some of her purchases – in particular dairy products and meat – she has done so for cleaning products, such as “disinfectants for laundry, cleaning sprays…”.

The 30-year-old, mother and living in the Paris region, now does her shopping in the provinces, where she spends her weekends. She has already noticed a difference of two euros on certain products, which are nevertheless similar. “I look at the prices all the time now, whereas before I stayed on my achievements,” she explains to Planet. His sister, meanwhile, no longer does her shopping without scanning it, which allows her to stay within her budget and check that promotions are effective. Small savings that allow him to indulge himself with other products, especially meat and fish. The rise in prices has also changed her habits at home, because she no longer throws anything away: the evening leftovers are used for the next day’s meal, a reflex that she did not necessarily have before.

If Alice has changed her consumption habits somewhat, others have changed them completely. This is the case of Simon* [the first name has been changed, Editor’s note], a young worker, who lives alone and has decided to “boycott” the most expensive brands: “By comparing the prices of different supermarkets around my home, I realized that there was sometimes 50% on the price of the same product”, he explains to Planet. Since the beginning of the summer, he has therefore been shopping at Lidl, even if he has to take his car: “I drive 20 minutes round trip per week for my purchases, but I think I will be a winner in the long term” .

No more question of completing “oversights” at the convenience store in your neighborhood, where prices are soaring. “I do without the tomato sauce or the croutons in the soup, when I forgot them”. Hélène* has also abandoned the supermarket in her neighborhood for a more affordable large area, which is five minutes further from her home: “There are a lot more people than before in this supermarket”, sign, according to her, that many consumers have the same reflex.

On the shopping list, Simon has fewer “little pleasures”: he has reduced his purchases of industrial cakes and sweets, of which he was nevertheless a big consumer. While he ate meat once a day, he reduced to once every two days, even three by the end of the month. For her part, since she retired, Valérie * [the first name has been changed, editor’s note], is less careful about expiry dates. Before, there was no question for her of consuming meat that had expired for a day, yogurts for more than two days, etc. From now on, she goes first and foremost to the “short dates” section of her supermarket. If she cannot find all the products needed for the week there, this reflex allows her to last a few days at a lower cost.

The retiree is wary of promotions, whereas this is not the case for Paul* [the name has been changed, Editor’s note], a young father who (almost) swears by them. Every week, he watches his supermarket catalog in his mailbox and writes down each of the promotions that interest him. A habit that he is not the only one to have, since according to a survey carried out by OpinionWay for Bonial and quoted by Le Monde, “34% of those questioned intend to seek more promotions”. This is two points more than in June.

According to another YouGov study, also relayed by the evening newspaper, 75% of French people take advantage of in-store promotions. Although he also favors them, Simon remains attentive to what he buys and tries not to take what he doesn’t need: “I avoid buying the 4 packs of cakes, because they don’t are not necessary for our diet. Sometimes I crack of course, but I catch up the week after, “he confides to Planet.

Laurène*, in her forties, no longer swears by the drive-thru, in order to avoid unnecessary expenses: “I know what I need and I don’t get lost in useless shelves”. As a result, his bill fell by 5 to 10% in a few weeks. Next step: make her menus before, so as not to buy anything more than she needs. Clara* has found the ultimate solution when she has no more budget for shopping: “I invite myself to other people’s homes a lot more for dinner,” she explains half-jokingly. It’s up to you to choose what suits you best.