The baguette is 29 cents for at least four months in Leclerc stores. Representatives of bakers in the region defend themselves and appeal to the common sense of consumers.
In this hypermarket in the Dijon metropolitan area, the baguette at 29 cents is rather discreet. No head of gondola, no poster with the slogan of the sign which claims to defend the purchasing power « crust than crust »! It is at the bottom of the radius, at ground level.
These buyers had a hard time finding it. » I heard the ad on the radio. At this price, it’s worth trying, but there is no label to know what’s in it, or where the ingredients come from « .
» It’s just a publicity stunt, but the consumer legitimately asks questions ” denounces Damien Vauthier, at the head of four bakeries in the Montbéliard sector and president of the employers’ union of Doubs bakers. « They can afford to lower the price of a loss leader and not make money on it. They catch up elsewhere. They just have to increase the one of the can of peas or something, nobody will see it « .
For craftsmen, a baguette at 29 cents is necessarily selling at a loss. The raw material already represents 15%. To this must be added labour, the price of energy for cooking or rent. » If we sold at 29 cents, we would just have to close up shop « .
“If the baguette cost so little to produce, we would all be driving Ferraris! »
Bruno Liégeon, baker in Beaune
Bruno Liégeon has been a baker for over forty years in Beaune. As president of the bakers of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, he has seen the passage of aggressive retail practices. » I’m sad that they’re taking it out on us « . He takes up on his own the formula of an American economist, Bernardo Trujillo, who referred to loss leaders as » an island of loss in an ocean of profits « .
» Yes, the basic baguette is cheaper in supermarkets, but look at other products, such as wholemeal bread. They are often the same price as ours. The customer is convinced to get a good deal, so he will buy everything from them « .
Looking at the labels on the shelf at Leclerc, the other items are actually far from the call price. We find the “3 meuniers” baguette at 75 cents, the tradition at 90 cents, the wholemeal bread at 1.50 euro.
Another point on which craftsmen insist on their difference, traceability. » We are attached to the quality of wheat, we try to work as much as possible in a short circuit adds Bruno Liégeon.
On this ground too, he accuses the large distribution of boasting of making local producers work only for a small minority of products.
On the future of his profession, Bruno Liégeon is confident. » Large retailers have closed many small businesses, it’s true, but we are resisting. We have kept our market share for 30 years. In France, 7 out of 10 baguettes are bought from artisans, consumers have the truth« .
It is based on another figure, that of the number of bakeries, stable over the past twenty years in the region, with closures in villages, but openings in cities.
Moreover, the sector is still struggling to recruit. This is also the case for Leclerc, which displays a job offer in its department to find a baker!
According to lovers of good bread, the 29-cent baguette cannot hide its industrial appearance and has little taste. But at this price, should we blame him?!