We are just back from our family holiday in France and I now suffer from supermarket envy, big style! Not only do our French cousins have an unimaginable choice, they have regional choices that are to die for and the prices are pretty good. I am comforted by reasonable prices, to me it spells that the supermarkets are not squeezing their suppliers to death, like some we could mention!
Look at this for choice of tomatoes. The prices you can see are in €s and per kilo, one kilo is 2 pounds 2 ounces. At a glance you can also see that all these tomatoes were produced in France………… ahhhhhhhhh la belle France. As you can see we made several colourful tomato salads. The local artisan butter with salt crystals was incredibly savoury and delicious. I probably need to say nothing about the bread, but oh for a French baker on a Ballywalter street corner…..
I give a wide berth to the meat counters in supermarkets because I have a super butcher on my door step in Greyabbey where I get all my meat. However, I would drive a long way to at least explore the meat counter in E. Leclerc, Yvetot. If my French had been better I would have liked to interview the butcher who served us because I imagine that E. Leclerc uses local butchers to give support the local economy, but still give an edge over traditional butchers shops in the area. I also think they do something similar with fresh fish. Certainly the fish counter in Fecamp, close to the source of fresh fish, was much better that the fish counter in Yvetot, which is inland about 30 km. Yvetot had the edge on the meat in the heart of French beef country – Normandy – and it shows!
Well I don’t know about you, but I have never seen a Cave à Maturation. Not only were the various breeds identified, but the number of days the meat has been hung is indicated as well. We chose Blonde d’Aquitaine beef which had been matured for 35 days.
Look at this receipt. Can you see how well it is organised? The goods are grouped, so you can quickly see if you’ve been overcharged and if you’ve got the discount which was the reason you picked the product. You can if something is missing which you were supposed to get. This is a receipt for the convenience of the customer. Get it? E. Leclerc actually takes the trouble to give you a receipt organised carefully in groups, such as drinks, dairy, butchers counter, fruit and vegetables rather than in the order you put your goods on to the belt.
So what is this all about? This is to tell supermarkets in the UK, pull you socks up!!! Support your local producers, give your customers the very best quality at a reasonable price without squeezing your suppliers and producers to death. Why don’t you all take a trip to France and have a look at what your French counterparts are up to. They lead the business by actually offering customers a great service.