The Christmas menu will cost more. The French are turning to cheaper festive products

The Christmas menu will cost more.  The French are turning to cheaper festive products

Last November, a Cofidis/CSA Research study indicated that the French planned to reduce the budget allocated to the Christmas meal to spend 120 euros, or seven euros less than in 2022. In reality, we should opt for an opposite strategy. Depending on the product, prices are up 20% to 30% over one year!

With less than ten days until New Year’s Eve, it’s time to finalize the final ideas that will make up the menu. While there may still be doubts about its content, one thing is certain: the budget for Christmas food shopping will be higher than last year. According to the shopping basket established by the NielsenIQ institute in collaboration with Europe Bleu and Europe Info, a meal incorporating traditional smoked salmon, foie gras, scallops or even frozen log will cost 144.36 euros compared to 122.45 euros in 2022. The gap between these two budgets is therefore very pronounced. However, it is attributable to only two products: turkey and foie gras. Their cost represents almost a third of the total expenditure, or 46.40 euros. For example, for a three-kilo free-range turkey, we went from 18.14 euros to 23.67 euros in one year. This is one of the consequences of the avian flu which led to the culling of farms in 2022, which have not yet been reconstituted to this day.

As for foie gras, producers are reassured by the symbol that their product represents in French culinary traditions. In a recent study conducted by the CSA institute for Cifog, 74% of French people indicated it as an essential dish on a festive table, before smoked salmon (68%) and the Yule log (63%). And against all expectations, the proportion of consumers who have declared that they will eat it this year has increased by two points to represent 69% of French people.

However, according to NielseniQ’s analysis, we do not see the same trend and we indicate a drop in sales of foie gras of around 31% since 2022, and up to 41% if we compare with 2021. Are the French swapping foie gras terrine for rillettes or pâté? If these revenues are not comparable, the panelist noticed an increase in sales of 2.8%, and even 7.2% compared to 2021.

In general, it clearly analyzes a move downmarket in the choice of party products. “Sparkling wine for champagne, pâtés or rillettes for foie gras, smoked trout rather than smoked salmon and then more classic confectionery chocolates, or chocolate bars, instead of festive, seasonal chocolates. So, we really see that this downscaling, as we call it, takes place not only throughout the year, but even during the holiday periods which are nevertheless a preserved period in terms of spending.“, explained Emmanuel Fournet, analytical director at NielsenIQ to Europe Bleu. We thus find even at the time of the end-of-year holidays this budgetary strategy, described at the height of the inflationary crisis and identified by the English expression “trading down “.

Regarding champagne, we are talking about sales which plunged by 31.4% between November 2021 and November 2023. Moreover, in one of the latest episodes of our TRENDZ podcast entitled “The bubbles of decomplexion”, we discussed the success of prosecco, as a more economical alternative to champagne.

So, to cope with these price increases and maintain the holiday spirit when sitting down to eat, it is recommended to use various strategies, such as being smart, taking advantage of anti-waste devices or optimizing the use of ingredients. At NielsenIQ, we even advise you to prefer the usual aisles to refrigerators dedicated to Christmas: “sometimes the same product in the festive aisle is more expensive than in its original aisle. Even inside the store, you may have to go see also the identical product in its usual aisle”, reveals the analyst.

Christmas menus around the world

Slide: Christmas menus around the world