“You have to save money somewhere”… They started discount food

The last time she had set foot in a discount supermarket, she was a student. For the past two weeks, Maéva*, a forty-something executive, has been pushing her cart through the aisles of a Lidl in Toulouse. Usually, for her family of four, she did “drive” at Carrefour, “without being too fussy”. But, with inflation, times are changing. “You have to save money somewhere”, explains the one whose monthly gas payment fell from 59 euros in October 2021, to 87 euros last month, while the household made efforts and lowered its consumption by 29%. And since Maéva has no control over the explosion in energy prices, she acts on the budgets she can control, food in the first place. For Lidl, his verdict is final: “It’s cheaper, that’s clear. In addition, we are less tempted. His – big – weekly trolley costs him around 180 euros, compared to an average of 250 euros for his usual drives. “I bought fish, French vegetables. And the yoghurts are very good, ”says the Toulousaine.

Christophe, an Internet user from 20 minutes, has taken the same turn in its consumption habits. “Since inflation”, he goes to Lidl but “one week out of two” only. Twenty years since he had set foot there. He therefore did not know that there were big brands, nor bakery with cooking on site. “The prices are slightly lower, he notes, but there are far fewer references than in hypermarkets. If he returns to discount, it is out of necessity. Because he does not feel “well” there. In his Lidl he misses the background music, he finds the customers irritated and the wait at the checkout “endless”.

“Everyone was criticizing, many ended up going there”

There are those who go back and others who come back. Cédric does not go to Lidl because they do not take the card for restaurant vouchers. Catherine, 50, no longer goes to hers simply because, according to her, it is “more expensive” than Leclerc. Many of them have done the math and found that, as long as we are content with private labels, the savings are not obvious in discount stores. And then there are the irreducible antis. Like Bernhard. “When it’s cheaper, it’s the quality that isn’t there,” he judges severely. Fruits and vegetables are not attractive, accessories, it works for a while and then it breaks. To save money and continue to visit local producers, he prefers to hunt waste.

A debate that is not new. Danielle, 50, remembers fondly of the early 1970s when a first discount store, with its stacked boxes, opened in her countryside – it was called Mager – and she walked there with her mother. “Everyone was criticizing, but many ended up going there,” she testifies. For her part, she perpetuated the family tradition by going “regularly” to Lidl and Aldi close to her home. “And the recent end-of-month problems encountered will certainly force me to restrict my spending even more, even with them,” she concludes, sadly.

* The first name has been changed

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