How far will the price increase in our supermarkets go? The amount displayed at the bottom of our receipts always seems bigger. Almost all products are affected by an increase in inflation, driven by an economic situation conducive to a continuous rise in prices.
Price increases have been felt for many months in French supermarkets. In September 2021, INSEE already estimated inflation at 2.1% over one year. Eight months later, this level now stands at 4.8% inflation in one year, more than double.
So which products are the most affected? Why nothing seems to be able to stop the price increase and what to expect for the coming months? We take stock.
What are the ten products most affected by inflation?
A report by the IRi Institute, which calculates the inflation of consumer products in supermarkets every month, lists the top 10 categories of products whose prices have undergone the most significant increase since last year.
The ranking is established by compiling the prices of a panel of products in April 2022 and comparing them to the prices observed for these same products, a year earlier.
Here are the ten products with the largest price increases over one year:
1. Pasta : + 15.31%
2. Frozen meats : + 11.34%
3. Flours : + 10.93%
4. Oils : +9.98%
5. Mustards : + 9.26%
6. Roasted coffees : + 8.16%
7. Dried fruits : + 8.16%
8. Ground meat : +7.91%
9. Pasta-based dishes : +7.67%
10. Semolina and cereals : + 7.47
Why have the prices of these products increased?
Among the list drawn up by the IRi institute is a large number of foodstuffs put under pressure due in particular to the drought, then to the floods in Canada. Severe heat has also been observed in Russia and the United States. In particular, they disrupted the harvests of durum wheat, a basic ingredient in the manufacture of pasta or the production of mustard seeds.
For meat products, the increase has been observed for about two years, according to Grégory Caret, director of the Observatory of consumption at UFC-Que Choisir. “Beef is suffering from inflation, in particular because of the rise in the price of cereals which are used to feed livestock. This phenomenon is amplified by the periods of drought which have occurred in France as elsewhere which do not allow the cows to feed on the grass of the fields. »
Vegetable oils are coming under pressure due to rising fuel prices. Because they are the basis for the production of biofuel, made from oil, and contribute to greater demand.
Regarding coffee, it is particularly the poor harvests in Brazil and the political unrest in Colombia that are driving prices up. This context is added to the additional costs linked to the price of energy and the Covid crisis for the transport of this commodity from which France benefits exclusively thanks to imports.
Other structural factors such as the increase in the price of pallets or packaging materials for all these products add another layer to inflation.
What other products are strongly affected by inflation?
More generally, it is raw products, such as vegetables or wheat, which are most directly affected by price increases. Eggs, milk and butter come just after the top ten products, says Emily Mayer, specialist in consumer products at the IRi institute.
Unlike processed products, producers have more limited leeway to keep prices low. Recipes for prepared products can be modified to offset the increase in certain ingredients.
Only 6% of product families are currently exempt from this generalized price increase, according to the IRi Institute. “Last month, we saw inflation at more than 4.5% on everything except drinks”confirms Grégory Caret, who mentions “levels of inflation not seen since the 1980s”.
Emily Mayer recalls that the prices of our supermarket purchases are negotiated each year between distributors and producers and then gradually arrive on the labels.
Read also: Negotiations with large retailers: the food industry says it is “worried”
For this reason, consumer associations are concerned about the rise in the price to be paid for healthy food, which constitutes the largest item of expenditure. “Such a sharp rise in prices, which affects all sectors, does not make it possible to maintain an adequate standard of living, mainly for families”worries Yvon Serieyx, project manager at the National Union of Family Associations.
What is driving inflation up?
“There is a whole bundle of bad news coming in and adding up creating a very high inflation trend”, emphasizes Grégory Caret. According to him, four main explanations explain the rise in prices.
He first evokes the various confinements experienced in France, but more widely on an international scale. “The epidemic has caused a bottleneck in international trade, weighing in particular on the packaging or deliveries of certain foodstuffs”, he points out. It is also difficult to consider that this period of tension is over since China is still partially confined.
The period following the epidemic phases also acts as an inflation accelerator. “During periods of recovery, demand increases mechanically, which generates tensions on the markets and pulls prices up. »
Rising energy prices are also contributing to the soaring cost of many commodities. It increases the costs of transport and production but also leads to the use of other fuels, sometimes vegetable, which generates supply difficulties for supermarkets.
The climatic factor also comes into play when we talk about the current increase in prices on store shelves. Thus the dreaded drought for the summer of 2022 in France could have consequences.
Read also: MENU. Drought: will you run out of water in your area?
“The current inflationary trend has nothing to do with the war in Ukraine”notes Emily Mayer who believes that the consequences of the war launched by Russia on the borders of Europe are not yet perceptible. “The current prices are the consequence of elements that occurred mainly in 2021”she adds again.
What to expect in the coming months?
This galloping inflation seems endless, and observers are not very optimistic for the months to come. “With the reopening of negotiations on certain products in the coming weeks, inflation is forecast at +5% at the start of the summer in supermarkets. This level has not been reached since 2008., assures Emily Mayer. She also believes that “the effect of the war in Ukraine should begin to be felt in the coming weeks” and help stretch the upward price movement even further in time.
She adds that the hierarchy is products most affected by inflation should be retained.
Read also: MENU. Inflation, a global headache… and not just in France
“I do not see the beginning of a limitation of inflation”, confirms Grégory Caret. However, he believes that France is doing well compared to other countries. “The energy shield, the inflation checks or the rebate on fuel have made it possible to limit inflation to around 4.5%. It’s hard but it’s “less worse” than elsewhere. »
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