France

French food prices set to soar

Reuters/Ints Kalnins

French food prices could be set to soar, according to France’s consumers’ association. The group accuses supermarkets of using special offers and changes in weights to disguise price rises.

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Prices of two-thirds of a sample of 92 foodstuffs on sale in supermakets rose between the start of November and the end of April, the association’s magazine 60 million de consommateurs (60 million consumers) reports.

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Flour, fruit juice, dairy products and frozen and tinned fish had risen by more than three per cent, while lardons (bacon bits) had risen by as much as 20 per cent in some shops.

And the magazine is worried by a flurry of special offers, which, it says, are often used to conceal coming price rises.

Supermarkets often put a product on special offer so that customers forget its original price and then sell it at a higher price after the offer is finished, it reports.

The magazine also warns customers to check the price per kilo of goods on sale because, it claims, manufacturers often reduce the weight of packages or change the recipe of prepared meals while keeping the price the same.

As world food prices rise because of soaring grain costs, France faces “insidious” inflation for the rest of the year, the journal’s editor, Marie-Jeanne Husset warns.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation’s world food price index hit a peak in February, dropping only slightly in March and April.

“A sharp increase in international grain prices in April more than offset declines in dairy, sugar, and rice, while oils and meat prices were mostly unchanged,” the UN organisation reports.

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