Shortages in supermarkets: the cry of alarm from the CEO of Sytème U

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This Sunday, October 23, the CEO of Système U Dominique Schelcher took the floor in the columns of the Journal du Dimanche to sound the alarm about the French food chain, which would be at “a turning point”, as reported by Capital .Fr.

Since the start of the pandemic, the French have become accustomed to finding a few empty shelves in their supermarket. In recent years, toilet paper and mustard are among the products that were sometimes difficult to find during certain periods…

And the situation is about to get worse. Indeed, the rate of unavailable products would currently amount to nearly 12%. At issue: not only the pandemic, but also the war in Ukraine, which has led to more and more stock-outs. Add to that the energy crisis. The accumulation of these aggravating factors is at the origin of a crisis that has never been seen in 50 years!

Soaring energy prices are the main culprit. Indeed, farmers and producers will be financially forced to reduce their ranges, as reported by the Midi Libre. They had already alerted to their critical situation last week, with shortages of GNR (non-road diesel) seriously impacting their sowing work, harvesting of certain products, as well as the feeding of their livestock.

It is now a purely financial problem that adds to their burden. The case of an endive producer, reported by Capital.fr, is a typical example: his electricity bill will increase from 76,000 euros in 2022 to 800,000 euros in 2023! These figures are all the more chilling considering the fact that exceptional state aid to companies is taken into account in this calculation. The CEO of System U also deplores the excessively restrictive nature of the latter.

Cheese and charcuterie would, for the moment, be the products most affected by these shortages in the months and weeks to come. Indeed, producers, faced with exacerbated expenses, will be forced to reduce their ranges, causing the products that are both the most expensive and the least purchased to be discarded. For example, a farmer will potentially choose to abandon his poultry in favor of cereal crops, which are less expensive to produce.

Finally, the other danger that awaits our shelves is that of repeated bankruptcies. In a crisis situation such as the one in which we find ourselves, a drop in activity in the sector would be fatal, and would further drastically accentuate the lack of busy products. The priority for substantial support for SMEs from the State is therefore recommended by Dominique Schelcher. Priority that we will see more or less transcribed in the 2023 budget about to be adopted.