Ten tips to reduce the impact of inflation on your food expenses

You may have noticed it when you go out. For several months now, prices for many foods have skyrocketed, from fresh vegetables to meat, pasta or oil. With an increase of 3.8% between April 2021 and April 2022, the food sector is definitely experiencing a much lower inflation compared to energy (+26.5%). But it is under heavy scrutiny because food, after housing, constitutes the second most important part of household consumption expenditure. Especially since the situation is expected to worsen: in June, the National Institute of Statistics and Statistics estimates that inflation in the sector will reach 6.3% more than a year.

>> Graphs. Why is groceries costing you more and more? The answer is in six graphs

In the face of this remark, the government promised to conduct a food check of 50 euros per month for the most modest families after the legislative elections. To help consumers who want to limit their spending when filling their cart, franceinfo has included tips from consumer associations, retail or consumer professionals, and even knowledgeable customers. They often require a little extra organization or time… and therefore also have a “cost”.

1Compare prices in stores near you

Going to the nearest supermarket is not always the most economical solution. The price gap between the two most expensive and cheapest retailers reached 23.5% in May, according to a study (PDF) From the Institute of Research and Innovation (IRI) based on Palette of 12 brands (excluding heavy discount). This great discrepancy is due to “A very aggressive policy of negotiating certain brands with their suppliers, which allows them to offer low prices and build a margin on the volume sold”, explains to franceinfo Grégory Caret, director of the Consumers Association UFC-Que Choisir’s Consumer Observatory. At the other end of the spectrum, “Downtown stores have higher prices because of lower shelves” from supermarkets.

To help you find the cheapest brand near you, UFC-Que Choisir has put together an online map of 4,000 drives (excluding hard discount) in mainland France, categorized according to prices charged for the same basket of 103 products. Due to the recent increase in fuel prices, don’t forget to incorporate this data to see if it’s worth going forward.

2Choose your brand and products based on promotions

In two words, you know how to be “Unfaithful” And “opportunism” With brands and retailers, advises Elodie Toustou, Head of Money at 60 million consumers. Invites you to consult the promotional catalogs of brands (Available in store reception and online) Before you go shopping to see which store to choose that day. Feel free to exchange your usual products for others depending on the available promotions, or even create a profile Lists of the week by sale. Some budget shopping influencers offer inexpensive recipe ideas (like 1repas1euro). This is also the case for the cooking site Marmiton, which offers a category “good and cheap” (less than 5 euros per person).

In addition, several mobile applications exist to help you optimize your discounts: Vidmi, Vidal, or Stockard Allow you to combine your loyalty cards. Groupon allows you to make group purchases (and therefore cheaper). The coupon network or Shopmium allows you to take advantage of it Specials. This Shopmium, iGraal, FidMarques or Quoty finally allows you to make up for it part of his expenses (called operation “cashback”).

3Make a list, set a budget…and stick to it

You are familiar with this proverb “The best way to resist temptation is to give in to it.” ? Well, don’t listen to him. “With inflation, the practice of shopping lists is back in strength to avoid temptation on the shelves”, according to Olivier Duvers, a journalist specializing in mass distribution. To follow the receipt amount in real time, the latter advises to bring a calculator, or choose to take a shower self scanning Available in some stores.

On the Internet, many consumers go there with their various tips so as not to stray from the fixed budget. Among other things, the Maman Econome YouTube channel boasts the “envelope method”, which consists in withdrawing cash corresponding to each account item of the month (shopping, bills, outings, etc.) and distributing it in as many envelopes as publications. This method, which allows you to view the available amounts, also prevents you from going over the budget, provided that you leave your credit card at home to respect the specified amounts.

4Buy (then freeze) products that expire soon

What is a frugal consumer’s best friend? “DLC for short”, which sets an end of use date close to the date of purchase, is generally the same or the next day. If you cannot use these products in time, freeze them to extend their shelf life. In addition to products marked with stickers on the shelves, most supermarkets now offer shelves full of “short DLC” allowing “Pay three to four times less”, confirms Elodie Toustou. A good exercise for the wallet, which also contributes to the fight against waste.

Here again, many applications (Phénix, Too good to go, etc.) make it possible to locate supermarkets, as well as restaurants or vegetable sellers indicating if they have the corresponding products.

5Turn to low prices and hard discount

Entry-level products and challenging discount prices are not exempt from price hikes, on the contrary. But from an economic point of view, they remain a better deal than their competitors. The French are not wrong: the hard discount in 2021 weighed more than 11% in the sale of consumer and fresh produce, according to a study by the International Republican Institute.

What about the quality? These categories of products suffer from a bad reputation, which raises the reluctance of some consumers. However, it is difficult to generalize, as the Food Observatory (Oqali) confirms, in a report (PDF) It was published in 2015. “One-time and non-systematic differences [en termes de valeurs nutritionnelles] They are highlighted and no cross-segment trend appears from the analysis by (…) a market segment”Enterprise writes. In short: some high-quality products are of better quality than the primary ones, and some are not. To find it, only one solution: “read labels” To clean up redundant additives and other ingredients, Elodie Testou advises. What if we don’t know much about her? “The longer the list of ingredients, the more careful you have to be”explains the journalist.

6Prefer “homemade” meals rather than ready meals

“When you buy a dish that someone else has prepared, you also pay for the time they spend preparing it, so it will always cost you more.”confirms Olivier Duvers. Try to limit ready-made meals or products that can be made at home. It is possible, for example, to recover from a butcher Trimming meat to feed his pets.

If cooking at home is an investment in terms of time that is sometimes difficult to reconcile with a professional life, it is not necessary to spend hours behind the stove. The Marmiton app, for example, offers a series of files Recipes in “under five minutes”.

7Go by short circuits (when it’s cheaper)

Contrary to popular belief, getting supplies from producers’ stores, markets, or brands that prefer local produce can sometimes save money. “Local and seasonal produce can be cheaper because it matures in the region and thus avoids transportation costs.”, Elodie Toustou explains. Also, getting supplies directly from the producer makes it possible to eliminate the margin taken by middlemen. But beware, this is not systematic: fruits and vegetables grown in greenhouses include, for example, the cost of heating in their price, and therefore can be more expensive, even if they are grown nearby.

In the Tricks section, if you go to the market as late as possible, and when merchants start refilling their products, you can often take advantage of lower prices and even donations.

8Replace expensive products with affordable ones from the same family

Among the products that experienced the highest inflation in a single year (from April 2021 to April 2022) are frozen fruits (+33.9%), fresh fish (+12.1%), fresh vegetables (+8 9%), or mutton, mutton and goat meat (+8 9%). + 7.7%), according to the latest figures from the National Institute of Statistics. To continue to eat in a balanced way while being mindful of your expenses, professionals advise cutting back on other foods from the same family (for example by replacing part of the meat with eggs that are also rich in protein).

It is also more economical to prefer canned packages rather than frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables. Numerous studies (in English) Demonstrate that the nutritional benefits of the three are broadly comparable.

9Reduce redundant products

With the risk of breaking the door open, it is easier to dispense with products that are not at the heart of meals. In sight: soft drinks, sweets or ready-made meals, which are expensive per kilo. “You shouldn’t give up all your pleasures, but consuming a few processed products or sugary drinks offers a double benefit to health and wallet”Gregory Carrett notes.

10Waste reduction

every year in FranceAnd 20 kg of food waste per capita is disposed with household wasteincluding 7 kilograms of food products still packed, according to A report issued by the Environmental Transformation Agency (Adam). However, reducing waste helps protect the planet, as well as your wallet. Avoid buying too much and offer at least one “meal left” each week to reuse what was not finished in the previous days.

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