More and more Grand Frais stores in Seine-Maritime: where do your products come from?

More and more Grand Frais stores in Seine-Maritime: where do your products come from?

Vegetables and fruits, the Grand Frais brand highlights the HVE label.
In the Seine-Maritime department, there are five Grand Frais stores. The last one opened in Sainte-Marie-des-Champs. (©AF/76actu) .

the Seine Maritime account now five Grand Frais stores. The last one is Sainte-Marie-des-Champs, near Yvetot.

The brand, with its products meticulously arranged on elegant and neatly arranged shelves, is popular with consumers. Between the market and the hypermarket, this large space is inspired by the configuration of covered markets and traditional halls.

Originally from Lyon, the distribution chain was released in 1992. It sells food products, the shelves are managed by Prosol, Despi or Novoviande for the butcher, European ethnic foods for groceries and Mary Blachere for the bakery. But are these products local?

To try to answer it, we interviewed several actors, in particular the producers of the Seine-Marine. We also visited the Grand Frais store in Rouen.

Fresh, local and seasonal vegetables and fruits?

justin lemaitreSecretary General of Young farmers from Seine-Maritime, initially believes that “Grand Frais seems to be making an effort to offer seasonal and French fruit and vegetable products. On the origin of food, this seems to be in line with our principles”. And to add: “In the vast majority of products we believe that the prices are correct. And if it benefits local producers, much better. »

Vegetables and fruits, the Grand Frais brand highlights the HVE label.  If the apple is French, it is impossible to know if it is from Normandy or if it comes from another region.
Vegetables and fruits, the Grand Frais brand highlights the HVE label. If the apple is French, it is impossible to know if it is from Normandy or if it comes from another region. (©AF/76news)

Grand Frais states on its website that it works “with more than 800 producers in France. Our fresh fruits and vegetables are carefully selected every day to guarantee you the best level of freshness and flavor! “. If we clearly observe the mention of the origin of France on the labels of certain fruits and vegetables of the Grand Frais de Rouen, there is however no indication of exact origin products, in the same way as in most traditional hypermarkets.

A disputed label

olivier lainethe Upper Normandy representative of the Peasant Confederation, wants to be more suspicious. In particular, he questions the HVE label — High Environmental Value — widely promoted by the brand. “Today, more than 50% of our associated farms are certified as of High Environmental Value”, specifies Grand Frais, still on its website.

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At the Grand Frais de Rouen, we have been able to see this label attached to many products. “It’s complete bullshit. It’s not a real guarantee of quality at all,” replies Olivier Lainé. Born from the Grenelle Environment Forum in 2008, the HVE label certifies respectful agricultural practices of the environment. “The High Environmental Value is an official French certification that promotes more environmentally friendly agricultural practices,” says the Ministry of Agriculture on this issue.

Posted by UFC-Que Choisir

At the beginning of 2021, UFC-Que Choisir questioned itself and wrote: “The High Environmental Value (HVE) label, which encourages farmers to adopt measures favorable to the environment and biodiversity, competes all the more with organic like ‘is not not so demanding. »

Still according to UFC-Que Choisir, associations France Nature Environment (FNE) and Acting for the Environmentthe Peasant Confederation and the Union of organic processors and distributors (Synabio) denounced an “ecological transition illusion”, calling it “massive greenwashing” and “deception” for consumers.

“Certainly the dense specs are generally going in the right direction. But it has significant shortcomings, details the consumer association. Above all, pesticides are not excluded, including the most harmful. » In September 2022, the newspaper the World pointed out that “the HVE has a lower level of demand than the AB [ndlr, Agriculture Biologique] “. In addition, the labels AB or HVE they do not allow to certify that the products are local.

Meat from France?

On dairy and meat, Justin Lemaitre of Young Farmers of Seine-Maritime finds that Grand Frais sometimes shows a ” lack of transparency. He says ‘made by our butcher’, but we don’t always know the origin of the raw material. ‘Made or processed in France’ means nothing. We are always cautious when we see this mention.”

We check the labeling of the meats at the Grand Frais de Rouen.
On the left, we find the mention ‘Made in France’ wholesale. The origin of the meat, French, is noticeable in the little ones. On the right, for the pig, we note that the meat comes from the UK. (©AF/76news)

Again at the Grand Frais de Rouen, whether for chicken, pork or beef, we have seen that most of the products on the shelves are labeling origin Francewhile others congregate origin UK or Spain. The mentions, sometimes in small characters, remain relatively legible, even for products that do not originate in France. However, it is impossible to verify, for French meat, whether it is truly local or not.

Questioned, Patrice Faucon, departmental president of the FNSEA (national federation of farmers’ unions), indicates that he has no contact with Grand Frais. “Its implantation in the territory is recent, it is a brand that does not make noise. We don’t have enough hindsight right now,” he explains. also requested, the Grand Frais brand did not want to answer our questions.

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