Under the effect of the pandemic, distributors have returned to their old habits: to satisfy customers who are more attentive to their purchasing power, they lowered the prices of products sold on their shelves last year.
In 2019, prices had increased by 0.9%, under the effect of the Egalim law, the objective of which is to better remunerate farmers and, to a lesser extent, manufacturers.
Last year, prices fell 0.14%, according to the IRI panelist, and even more at the end of the year.
Distributors focused their efforts on national brand products - their prices fell an average of 0.36%.
Private label products recorded slight inflation (0.24%).
The government fears that this desire of distributors to moderate prices to attract customers will undermine the advances of the Egalim law
The effect of the pandemic is clear and clear: prices start to fall again, gradually and continuously, from April, when France is confined for the first time.
Part of the French are then placed on partial unemployment, with a partially cut salary.
Most distributors have since the spring taken measures to freeze the prices of many products, considered essential.
Beauty hygiene, collateral victim of the food law
The phenomenon has only increased throughout the year.
In December, prices were thus 0.34% lower than in the same month of 2019. Hygiene and cleaning products were the most affected by the deflation.
Their prices fell 1.17% in December.
The grocery department also saw its prices drop by 0.47%.
Deflation is particularly marked in hypermarkets, whose attractiveness depends, even more than for other formats, on their price positioning.
The government fears that this desire on the part of distributors to moderate prices in order to attract customers will call into question the advances of the Egalim law.
"Trade negotiations have started on degraded bases"
, we deplore at Bercy and at the Ministry of Agriculture.