Inflation, unexpected ally of anti-waste shopping

Short dates, ‘ugly’ products, person to person… the anti-waste sector is surfing rising prices to establish itself as a new ‘consumption routine’, between austerity prospects and the quest for better food.

Since July 7, the Carrefour hypermarket in Montesson (Yvelines) has become a haven for “ugly” products. Twisted cucumber, red pepper pickled with green, or camembert a little too light to claim the name, these items have found a place on the shelf without any outlets so far.

First, the curious roll their eyes carefully for their prize: “20 to 25% cheaper” than their core market equivalent, the store says.

The anti-waste initiative comes at the right time as inflation rose to 5.8% in a year in June, according to INSEE, and at the same level in food.

“This is a buying opportunity” for customers who would otherwise have abstained from meat or fruit because of the price increases, Bertrand Swiderski, director of CSR (social and environmental responsibility) of Carrefour explained during a visit.

The goal is to make a “less standardized offer”continued “We anti-gaspi” co-founder Charles Lottmann, project partner and creator of the range. “Flexibility” on the appearance of the products, “short dates” Where “catch weight”“It was a victim of its success and the stalls were robbed,” assured Mr. Swiderski.

New routine

Purchases against waste were initially seen as a “ecological commitment”, says Jean Moreau, co-founder of the application that specializes in unsold items, Phenix. But she “become a consumption routine” in answer “to the question of purchasing power”he adds.

“We have an average of 12% more registrations” per month since the beginning of the year compared to the previous year, continues Jean Moreau. The application has exceeded 4 million users by attracting new profiles such as the elderly and strengthening the student base attracted by discounts of “minimum 50%”.

The trend is even stronger at industry leader TooGoodToGo. “In June alone, downloads increased by 42% compared to June 2021” and the frequency of purchases is increasing, the director for France, Sarah Chouraqui, told AFP.

Fabien Da Silva, a 24-year-old alternating computer scientist who is already familiar with these platforms, is increasing the number of orders to mitigate the effects of rising prices on his consumption. “I regularly take a basket with 3-4 pieces of meat, I avoid buying them in the supermarket because I can’t afford it”he develops.

“I order almost every day”for his part, Thomas, a 47-year-old director who wishes to remain anonymous for professional reasons. “Partial unemployment has reduced my lifestyle”he develops, the anti-waste baskets allow him to “eat for 5 to 8 euros a day”versus “15 to 20 euros” rather enough to mitigate the effects of inflation.

Special to special

The dynamic has spread to more confidential local networks, advocating direct exchanges between small producers and customers, even from individual to individual.

It is about “Bring up to date this practice we had of giving away (or selling at a low price) the vegetables we had too many in our garden when we couldn’t eat them”explains Inès Bazilier of Fruit and Food.

Born a year ago and based mainly in the southeast, the start-up has recruited a quarter of its 8,000 members in recent weeks, spurred by a constant desire of the French population to eat “healthy and local” despite rising prices.

Some “Pay for a kilo of apricots but leave with a five kilo box” thanks to the gardener’s generosity, others come to the locals “pick straight from the tree, and for free”laughs Inès Bazillier, who counts as many short-circuit lockers as users “Looking for good deals”.


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