A recent study by Eurostat, the European Commission Statistic Services, provides an insight into the comparative price of household items across 37 countries of Europe, with a focus on food, beverages, and tobacco. In France, the bill for food shopping is 15% higher than in most European Union (EU) countries.
Better Quality and Higher Prices
In the poll, France was ranked 13th most expensive country overall and the EU country with the highest food prices, just behind the "European top three", which consists of Denmark, Luxembourg, and Austria.
Given that France produces 80% of the food it consumes, this may come as a surprise. However, a research conducted by the institut de liaisons des entreprises de consommation (ilec) highlights that 60% of products in France are sold in hypermarkets, and this kind of shopping establishments actually attract more premium, regional, or local products that pull the indices up, even if they coexist with a low-cost call offer.
The High Cost of Labor
While the prevalence of high-quality, home-produced food may be one explanation for the price disparity with the rest of the union, another important aspect to consider is the high cost of labor that farmers must maintain. In fact, the cost of working an hour in France is €37.50, compared to an EU average of €28.50 (€37 in Germany and roughly €28 in the UK).
It is also important to take note of fruits and vegetables. When compared to the large expanses of greenhouses in southern Spain, the latter indicate a 27% difference with the rest of Europe, a difference that can be explained not only by the higher labor costs and taxes in France, but also by the smaller scale of farms.
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