(AFP / DAMIEN MEYER)
Many shortages have been observed in supermarkets. How to explain?
You will have noticed: shortages multiply on supermarket shelves, from toilet paper to chocolate cakes, through sunflower oil and mustard. Explanations about this phenomenon that confuses consumers and does not make the business of supermarkets.
abnormally high rupture rate
The images become familiar: empty supermarket shelves, missing products, even disputes over the last packet of flour or the last bottle of oil. In all the days of life
a Système U representative recently stated that they had “never experienced interruptions in supply
at such a high level.
There is sunflower oil, since the invasion of Ukraine, an important producer of this plant, by Russia. Or toilet paper at the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic in 2020. From the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, from the beginning of March to mid-August, these are
mustard, salad dressings, non-alcoholic beverages, chips, oils, or poultry
that have been affected, according to a barometer compiled by panelist NielsenIQ.
96.4% of referrals
it remained available on shelves in August, according to this same source. But the rate of ruptures, which last an average of 4 days, is abnormally high in a country accustomed to not missing anything.
Much less accurate forecasts since 2020
Until the Covid-19 epidemic, store sourcing was a well-oiled machine. Before placing an order, the merchants were based on the sales of the same period of previous years, taking into account specific events such as the end of the year celebrations or the arrival of sunny days. But since 2020, between lockdowns, telecommuting and the impact of the war in Ukraine,
The predictions are much less precise.
All the players agree that he is above everything
so-called “precautionary” purchases
that empty the shelves: customers, hearing that mustard crops have been poor, or seeing that the shelves are already very empty, will be tempted to buy more of these products than usual, to store them at home.
“At least June, we had no more mustard because we had achieved our figure for the year,” he recently explained in
Michel-Edouard Leclerc, president of the strategic committee of E.Leclerc stores. The French have bought in six months what the leading retailer
expect to sell in a year.
“If I cite a mark” that could soon be missing,
“everyone will rush” to buy it,
Michel-Edouard Leclerc also said.
This desire escapes the forecasting models of companies, which will want to place an order at the same time, obstructing the supply chain. In addition, providers may be tempted to
as available stocks are hotly contested.
Are supermarkets benefiting from the crisis?
If sunflower oil has returned to stores, it is often at higher prices, suggesting that supermarkets are profiting from the crisis. Professionals respond that these inputs cost them, as well as packaging and transportation. But as demand is high, some may have been tempted
for a price increase.
Regardless, retailers don’t like to leave shelves empty, which they see as lost profits, estimated by NielsenIQ at
2,700 million euros since the beginning of the year.
A figure to clarify, however, because it does not take into account the “oversales” made when the product is available on the shelves.
Some terminations are voluntary
However, some breaks are
chosen by professionals,
whether agroindustrial or distributors. Fans of Mikado, Petit Ecolier, Pépito or Pim’s have recently noticed that some of their products were missing from the shelves. This is the result of the decision of the group that owns these brands, Mondelez, to “thoroughly clean” a production center, after
of a salmonella alert
in a Belgian factory of one of its chocolate suppliers, and after verifying that no product put up for sale contains contaminated chocolate.
Another scenario: the waters of the Danone group, including Evian, Badoit, Volvic. In many Intermarché stores they are no longer sold. No interruption of production, but
between the manufacturer and the dealer on the cost of purchase.