Eating fruits and vegetables has been more expensive since the coronavirus epidemic began. On average, a household’s shopping basket would have increased from € 12 to € 15. This is what emerges from the survey conducted by the consumer association UFC-Que Choisir, which found, after four weeks of confinement, an increase of 6% for conventional products and up to 12% for organic products. .
→ LIVE. Coronavirus: the deconfinement strategy unveiled Tuesday at 3 p.m.
An increase which could be explained, according to Christiane Lambert, president of the FNSEA, the main agricultural union, less by inflation than by the new appetite of the French for national productions.
“Fruits and vegetables are more expensive because they are French. This is explained by a higher cost of labor and more demanding health standards than in certain competing countries “, detailed Christiane Lambert during a press briefing Friday, April 24.
This one assumes besides, like the whole of the profession, the situation. “Today, producers sell their asparagus and strawberries at a remunerative price and that’s good”, she adds. However, it turns out that a French strawberry can cost between 70% and 100% more expensive than a Spanish strawberry.
Less competitive competition
The increase is also due to an evolution of the shelved offer. The circulation restrictions put in place worldwide to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have meant that fewer Spanish and Moroccan fruits and vegetables are now sold on French stalls.
What is more, foreign agricultural producers encounter the same difficulties in producing and harvesting as their French counterparts and they have to increase their prices, at the risk of making themselves less competitive.
Another explanation: prices systematically increase between March and April due to the change of season. “But there is no spectacular flight, despite the increase in transport costs, says Laurent Grandin, president of Interfel, the fruit and vegetable industry. We do everything to maintain the accessibility of our products. “
“Our jobs are your shopping!” “
For its part, the French government has assured that it will take care to avoid any spike in prices, but it believes that the increase noted so far remains bearable. At the beginning of April, the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire thus recalled: “What we pay in addition is of course the quality of French production. “
For the FNSEA, the challenge now is to register this trend over time. “Eat French!” French producers need you to stay loyal to them “, insists Christiane Lambert. The FNSEA president notably draws consumers’ attention to the products that have suffered the most from the crisis: certain poultry such as pigeon or quail, french fries and cut cheeses.
“We want to show that we can put on the market more expensive, but more qualitative products, which maintain the French agricultural sector, says Christiane Lambert. Our jobs are your shopping! “