Economy Turkey, champagne, salmon… For the Christmas meal, don't panic,...

Turkey, champagne, salmon… For the Christmas meal, don’t panic, there is no risk of shortage

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A Christmas meal – Jones/REX Shutterstock/SIPA

  • Despite the economic crisis linked to the coronavirus, which affects all sectors, traditional Christmas dishes will be present for the holidays.
  • The mass cancellation of events and the closure of restaurants have left producers’ stocks full.
  • So that consumers can get them, professionals are stepping up initiatives such as partnerships with restaurateurs, direct sales and Internet orders.

Confined or not, Christmas will take place. If the French do not yet know whether they will celebrate in a small committee or in a large table (we bet anyway, at best, on the first hypothesis), uncertainty also reigns over the dishes that will be present on the plates in the evening. New Years Eve.

The first confinement had given rise to disruptions for certain products, and the crisis linked to the coronavirus severely affected all economic sectors. What will happen to traditional Christmas dishes? 20 Minutes went into the back kitchen to take stock.

  • The Champagne will be there (the cellars are full)

How is the sector doing?

Celebratory drink par excellence, champagne has suffered greatly from the Covid-19 crisis. With the cancellation of almost all event orders, the forced closure of restaurants and the difficulty for individuals to organize parties, the sector estimates its sales at 210 million bottles for the year 2020, i.e. nearly 30% of losses compared to 2019 (300 million bottles).

Is there a risk of a shortage?

The Covid-19 will not prevent the French from finding champagne at Christmas. It is a wine to keep, that is to say it is put on sale after a long period in the cellar. The “youngest” were harvested more than fifteen months ago. In other words, long before the start of the coronavirus epidemic. In addition, the poor sales this year means that stocks are full.

Professional advice

Vincent Perrin, Managing Director of the Champagne Committee: “It is easy to find champagne since the wine merchants remain open during confinement, like the large distribution. We can also turn to the Syndicat général des vignerons de la Champagne, which has found a solution with Expedeasy to ship small quantities directly to individuals. Some brands even offer formulas with other Christmas products. “

  • Foie gras is suitable for small group dinners

How is the sector doing?

The foie gras market suffers greatly from the closure of restaurants, since catering represents 40% of sales. The sector fears that the continuation of containment will further cut into the turnover of producers: 75% of the 16,000 tonnes produced each year are sold during the months of November and December.

Is there a risk of a shortage?

Surely not. If the sector has decided to reduce its production by 13% since the start of the first containment, this does not make up for the sales lost with the catering. So there will be foie gras on the shelves. To encourage consumers to buy, many producers offer reduced packaging of 300 grams, which corresponds to a table of 5 or 6 people. Partner restaurateurs in the sector will also offer gourmet baskets around foie gras to take away.

Professional advice

Marie Pierre Pé, director of the Interprofessional Committee for Foie Gras: “Whatever number of people you receive, don’t hesitate to buy your foie gras because it keeps very well. Half-cooked, it can be eaten for a year. Canned, it can be kept for up to four years. Check that it has a protected geographical indication logo or the “foie gras de France” logo to be sure you are consuming a French product. “

  • The “festive” turkey hopes to do as well as usual

How is the sector doing?

Turkey farmers, who supply 40 million turkey per year (males and females combined), are more optimistic than other sectors as they hope to achieve the same sales as in previous years. One of the challenges of Christmas, which represents 10% of annual turnover, is the type of turkey that is offered during this period. A whole turkey, called “festive,” which is raised specifically for this period.

Is there a risk of a shortage?

The production of whole turkeys has not been too disrupted by the health crisis. It will be easy to find it in supermarkets, at butchers or in short circuits. It will also be easy to find turkey in restaurants that offer take-out food for Christmas.

Professional advice

Yann Brice, Director of the Interprofessional Committee for French Turkey: “You shouldn’t hesitate to order your whole turkey. If that turns out to be too much for the Christmas dinner, there are multiple ways to cook up leftovers. All pieces can be valued. You can order it from your butcher and ask him for cutlets, fillets, thighs, and even roast it. “

  • The truffle bet on short circuits and on the Internet

How is the sector doing?

Difficult to say at the moment. The harvest has barely started, but the outlook is rather good and professionals expect the same tonnage as last year in the five major producing regions: PACA, Center-Val-de-Loire, Occitanie, Aquitaine and Auvergne. -Rhône-Alpes.

Is there a risk of a shortage?

With the loss of catering demand, stocks of truffles are expected to be full as Christmas approaches. In addition to French production, the country imports truffles from Spain and Italy. According to professionals in the sector, it will be easy to find them in short circuits and on the Internet (producers have developed a lot online since the start of the epidemic). And for those who don’t know how to cook it, many restaurateurs should offer them in take-out.

Professional advice

Michel Tournayre, President of the French Federation of Truffle Growers: “Since you can’t smell or touch it this year, you have to be careful that the truffle is well cut to see the inside. Between its white veins, the nose should be as black as possible. The ideal is for it to be penknotted on both sides. And avoid all flavored industrial products, they use chemical truffle. “

  • The smoked salmon is here, but we will have to anticipate it

How is the sector doing?

This is the exception: the smoked salmon sector is doing very well. During both lockdowns, consumption of smoked salmon increased by 10.7% in value. “Pleasure” purchases which were able to partly compensate for commercial catering, which was very painful.

Is there a risk of a shortage?

According to the Federation of Canned Food Industries, stocks are full and there is no risk of a shortage. Packages are provided in ten, six or four sections, in order to meet all requests. Professionals are more worried about a risk of a disruption in the supply chain in the last days before the holidays.

Professional advice

Pierre Commere, general delegate for the fish industry: “To make sure you have salmon for Christmas, it is better to buy or order it in advance. This product is still very successful as D-Day approaches and shelves could suffer as stocks are full. “

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