Purchasing Power: The Anti-inflation Basket In 5 Questions
A measure announced by the government for the beginning of March 2023, the anti-inflation basket is being debated. Indeed, a great vagueness persists on the content of this basket supposed to bring to the French a concrete answer to the rise of the prices. We suggest you to take stock of this measure in 5 questions.
1- What is the anti-inflation basket?
The government has announced the implementation of an anti-inflation basket for early March, in response to rising prices that continue to eat away at French purchasing power.
Olivia Grégoire, the Minister Delegate for Trade, announced that this basket, offered by participating retailers, would consist of about fifty very common products at reduced prices.
2- What products will this basket be made of?
For now, the composition of the anti-inflation basket is still very unclear. The Minister Delegate for Trade has simply indicated that it will contain food and non-food essentials. Some products deemed non-essential will not be included, including alcohol and confectionery.
Interviewed by the newspaper Le Parisien, Olivia Grégoire explained that this basket should be composed of 5 fruits and vegetables, including 3 organic, two starchy foods, red or white meat, including at least one labeled, fish as well as dental hygiene products.
The minister added: 'I have at heart that there are also quality products, fresh products, organic and that it is not only a basket small prices.'
We will still have to wait to learn more because the exact list of product categories involved is still being arbitrated.
3- How will mass distribution apply this measure?
The government's intention to give a boost to the budget of French households by offering them a basket of everyday products at low prices is of course commendable. But some people are already worried about the practical implementation of this measure.
Indeed, there will be no obligation or standardization on a national level for this anti-inflation basket. It will be constituted by different participating brands on a voluntary basis.
Each retailer will be able to freely compose this basket with its own references and its own prices.
4- When will this basket be available?
According to government announcements, the anti-inflation basket is expected to be available in mass merchandisers by early March 2023.
It should be noted that the price of groceries has risen by nearly 15% over a year and is expected to continue to rise in the coming weeks. Government anticipates a 'red March' with an additional 10% increase
It should also be noted that this boost to French purchasing power will only be provisional. For now, it is expected to last until June. 'We hope that the inflation cap will be passed in the spring and we will do a new point [in June]', said the minister's office.
5- Why is this measure controversial?
According to the association UFC-Que choisir, this basket at low prices is far from sufficient to meet the difficulties of the French. The association thus described this measure as 'gimmick' and stressed that the solution to food inflation does not lie 'on a basket as small and poorly defined'.
'How 50 products could meet the diversity of needs according to the types of consumers?', protested Olivier Andrault, in charge of the mission agriculture food for UFC-Que choisir.
The consumer association is also concerned about the weak commitments of large-scale distribution regarding the price of the products making up this basket. 'In the absence of regulatory definition on these prices, an allegedly broken price could be only the usual price.'
The association also pointed to the shortcomings of this anti-inflation measure, including the fact that the signs do not commit to the moderation of margins, the absence of price changes and the possibility of comparing products, the only way for consumers to play the competition between the signs.
The government's objective of proposing a basket with reasonable prices and above all stable prices over time could not be achieved if the supermarkets do not play the game.