Oils, pastes, eggs: why supermarket shelves continue to empty

What foods are most in short supply?

In the aisles, whether for oils, flour or pasta, the same signs of annoyance: how to make your cake or your mayonnaise without these essentials of consumption? Industry specialist panelist NielsenIQ notes that product availability has been declining since early March, although the trend “ request to be confirmed in the next few weeks “.

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The most penalized categories are oils, followed by frozen potatoes, flour, pasta and eggs.

And, according to NielsenIQ, 3.1% of products have run out at some point since the start of the year, for an average of 4 days. 60% of these shortages concern the grocery and fresh produce sections.

Precautionary purchases but not only

For oils, or even flour, the phenomenon of precautionary purchases is in full play: consumers, worried to hear that the Russian offensive in Ukraine could weigh on stocks of sunflower oil, of which the country is a major exporter , or wheat, have decided to anticipate by buying more than usual. The supply chain did not follow.

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But this is not the only factor. For eggs, for example, economic factors are added, with the avian flu epidemic, but also the price of animal feed.

This also concerns meat products “, explains Jean-Philippe André, the president of ANIA, the professional organization of agro-industrialists, in particular because of the inflation of soybean meal, which is used to feed poultry, pigs or beef.

What is the role of the war in Ukraine?

International supply chains have been disrupted. Russia and Ukraine are aluminum, glass and recycled plastic suppliers says Jean-Philippe André again.

Some brewers or manufacturers who use cans have order visibility within ten days, and they must constantly change their supplies “.

Because this is another component of the current tensions: while the annual negotiations between food manufacturers and supermarkets, which set the prices of many products in supermarkets for the coming year, ended on 1 March, the government decided to encourage a reopening of discussions given the inflation of production costs (energy, fuel, but also packaging for example) and agricultural raw materials.

Why this industrial-supermarket “rat race”?

Today, we sell our pigs at 1.90 euro per kilo (up from the 1.40 euro per kilo paid in January to the breeder), but given the increase in input costs, we are losing money “, explained recently the president of the first agricultural union, the FNSEA, Christiane Lambert. ” Price revaluation is a necessity “.

The talks are ” a terrible rat race “, according to her, always quick to accuse supermarkets of wanting to cut prices. The representatives of the latter, themselves, pose as defenders of the purchasing power of the French, an argument that hits the mark insofar as it is their primary concern today.

The representative of the large distribution, the general delegate of the FCD Jacques Creyssel, replied that ” a certain number of increases have already been accepted by the brands ”, dismissing the criticisms of the suppliers.

Michel-Édouard Leclerc, the president of the strategic committee of the E. Leclerc centers, estimated in the middle of the week on BFMTV / RMC that “it is not only the rise in raw materials that explains the rise in prices that we are offered”.

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