Food consumption in France fell by 4.6% in 2022 compared to 2021 as consumers cut back amid soaring food inflation, data shows.

It is the sharpest decline since the country’s national statistics office suggests began tracking the data in the 1960s.

It followed four consecutive quarters of declining consumption, dropping by 2.8% in the fourth quarter, according to analysis by INSEE, France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies.

In December, food consumption fell by 1.8%, despite seasonal festivities, with a value of EUR16.04bn (US$17.6bn) compared to EUR17.51bn in 2021.

It follows data released in December that showed France’s large supermarkets had seen a 2.1% drop in turnover across online and in-store channels month on month, following a 0.4% fall in November. In-store sales fell more sharply, by 2.4%.

Year-on-year turnover for large food retailers increased however by 4.6%, inflated by rising costs of goods and energy. In December 2022, overall inflation in France stood at 5.9% year-on-year, according to INSEE. Food inflation rose much more sharply, at 12.1% in November and December, following an 11.8% rise in October.

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By GlobalData

Manufacturers have also been feeling the pinch in France. In December, French and Italian ready-meal manufacturer Cofigeo announced it would halt production at half its factories in January as it battled a “spectacular increase” in energy prices. The company, which owns the William Saurin and Garbit brands, said it would pause output at four of its eight plants on 2 January.

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