In front of a baguette at 29 cents, is your first instinct to say to yourself “it’s a bargain, I’m buying” or “it must be awful considering the price”? The whole bet for Leclerc is to hope that baguette lovers will opt for the great “deal”. By setting the price of its baguette at less than 0.3 euros for four months and this, in full inflation, the supermarket giant has drawn the wrath of bakers and millers. Leclerc hopes to seduce customers, but could this very low price not have the opposite effect and put off the French who combine high price and quality?
“How can a price be so low? Is it poor quality? Is it harmful to health? “, Asks Marie-Pierre Julien. Asked by 20 Minutes, the anthropologist and sociologist specializing in dietary practices at the University of Lorraine continues: “Since the early 2000s and the fight against obesity in France, there has been real reflection in all social categories on the link between food and health, and the notion that good health comes from good products. “Bottom line, just because a fridge needs to be filled does not mean it should be filled with any product as long as it is not expensive. Marie-Pierre Julien assures us that the French today are more careful about the content of their plate: all socio-professional categories are aware of the importance of healthy and balanced food and the most precarious are perhaps no longer tempted by the price of the baguette too low.
The price, a determining criterion for the purchase
Faced with such a slashed price, it’s not just Erwin, bobo of the 9th arrondissement of Paris, fan ofavocado toast, who will ask himself questions about the quality of the “Leclerc baguette”, insists our anthropologist: “Everyone is wondering and is aware. And one can also wonder to what extent Leclerc has cut back on production costs (wages, etc.)? “It is quite possible that Leclerc manages to make large margins without deteriorating too much the quality of the baguette or to compensate for this promotion with the prices of its other products”, estimates Fabrice Etilé, professor of food economics and director of research at the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment.
“It is obvious that this affair does not apply to all French people. Of course, those who can afford their baguette in a bakery will continue to do so if their income allows them, ”adds Fabrice Etilé. Corn the economist also recalls a major economic reality: “The first concern of many households is to put something on the plates and the price remains a determining criterion. “
Above all, it’s the taste
Still, we are in France, nation of gastronomy and good food [et de Zinédine Zidane, mais ce n’est pas le sujet du jour]. It is therefore high time, as a good patriot in love with flavor and feasts, to talk about one of the most important criteria: taste. Marie-Pierre Julien: “It is extremely important for the validation of a product and it remains a key consumer experience. He’s not going to buy the wand if he doesn’t think it is good. “
Let’s go even further: the crouton lover will not buy the baguette if he finds it worse than the one he has tasted so far. The price does not excuse everything, and even less for a baguette, a heritage product and everyday life par excellence. In consumer economics, this is called “an experience good”, informs Fabrice Etilé. In other words, the baguette is one of those products that we have eaten a lot and of which we therefore have a very precise idea of the taste. “If the 29-cent baguette is worse than a more expensive baguette, the consumer will not come back. This could therefore tarnish Leclerc’s image, ”even slices the economist.
Leclerc undoubtedly prepared its cost well
Enough to make Michel-Edouard Leclerc and his descendants tremble over five generations? Probably not, because the supermarket also masters the notion of experience good, and has undoubtedly prepared its cost well (do you have it?). Fabrice Etilé prophesies: “The wand will certainly not be bad, otherwise it would be a catastrophic operation. Leclerc therefore had to manage to preserve the quality of the product as much as possible. “
And if the baguette is good, that’s a bonus for Leclerc. Just like the taste, the price of the baguette is anchored in the brain of the consumer – the good of experience, always -, who will surely remember a baguette as good as the previous ones but less expensive. All the success or failure of this marketing operation would therefore hang on the taste buds of the French. And for food, it’s still the essential.