With inflation, why are shopping becoming more time-consuming?

“Buy bread and yoghurt at Monoprix, vegetables and fresh fruit at Carrefour, then switch to Franprix for meat”. When she lists food shopping to do for her family, Natacha, a 32-year-old teacher, seems to be declaiming the twelve labors of Hercules. In the past, everything was simpler: all of his shopping was done at Carrefour with a precise plan: fruit and vegetable section, frozen cordons bleus, 5% steaks, cheeses in the fresh section and small guilty pleasures in the dessert section. Less than five minutes watch in hand and races on autopilot mode. “The good old days,” she sighs.

Inflation galloping, particularly marked on food purchases, replaced what was a formality with an endurance race. “With the rise in price, I have to look for the most interesting promotions, the best offers, compare and go to several supermarkets, if I want to do profitable shopping,” Natacha runs out. Like her, many consumers change their shopping behavior in times of inflation, moving towards more complex shopping and in more different supermarkets, points out an article from the New York Times.

A task delegated mainly to women

Many consumers, or rather many female consumers. According to an Ifop survey of October 2019it is the women who do the shopping in 63% of families and even in 73% of low-income families. A task that takes an average of 1h30 per week, according to the same survey. According to a study by Nielsena specialist in mass distribution, in January 2021, 71% of people shopping at the supermarket were women.

“Food shopping represents a significant mental load for women. A thankless and uninspiring task that is delegated to the mother of the household, while the man takes care of the more socially valued tasks, such as DIY, ”confirms Fabienne El-Khoury, spokesperson for the association. Dare feminism. A challenge that worsens with inflation, supports Philippe Moati, economist specializing in consumption and co-founder of the Observatory society and consumption: “There are no more benchmarks or automatisms, especially for the most precarious households where every euro counts. Any purchase becomes a source of deliberation, arbitration and sacrifice,” notes the expert, especially since “the rise in prices is not the same for all food products, creating even more complexity. The races have become more tedious and time-consuming than before”.

What about Dad ?

“And the prices move all the time, laments Fanny, mother of three children. You have to constantly recheck the offers to be sure not to be fooled. Family pressure remains constant: “Children don’t understand inflation and complain that there are fewer good brands or desserts than before. And who did the shopping and who is found guilty? It’s mom. I pass for the wicked when I do my best. »

Impossible to send dad to the front: “Already to find dishwashing liquid, it takes four hours in a department, so a list of very precise and specific products in several stores is too much for him”, ironically Fanny. Same observation with Maëlle in the department next door, who rolls her eyes at the very idea of ​​entrusting the shopping to her spouse: “I’ve already sent it to the supermarket, he brought back anything. I had to do the shopping again. I might as well do everything myself the first time, it saves time and money”. And she’s not the only one to think that, especially since, as Fabienne El-Khoury reminds us, the kitchen is mostly managed by women. “It is better that we take care of choosing the products, otherwise we end up with dishes that are impossible to prepare”, supports Maëlle.

Sacrifice everywhere, recognition nowhere

In times of inflation and with the demands of each member of the family, some strive to satisfy everyone, even if it means neglecting themselves, like Maëlle: “It’s generally my purchases and my favorite dishes that I sacrifice. It avoids arguing with the lover or the kids, it’s the simplest solution, and too bad for me. »

There is another imperative, even in times of inflation: prepare the healthiest meals possible. “Women are caught between a rock and a hard place, between economic constraints and the constraint of eating well, requiring generally more expensive foods such as organic”, says Fabienne El-Khoury. “That’s why we spend so much time on our races, justifies Fanny. We want to aim for products that are as good as before when everything is more expensive, so the counterpart is that we spend hours there. Time saves money, but at what cost?

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With inflation, why are shopping becoming more time-consuming?


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