Why 800 food products (including Nutella) are about to get a price hike in France

You probably won't fail to notice that from Friday in France certain big brand food products have rocketed in price. Here's why.

Why 800 food products (including Nutella) are about to get a price hike in France
Photo: AFP

* For language learners: we've highlighted some useful vocabulary in this news story. You'll find the French translations at the bottom of the article.

Friday will see the introduction of a new Loi Alimentation (food law) in France which means prices on a whopping 800 food products are set to shoot up. 

The products affected will include items such as President Camembert, which is set to go up by 8.6 percent to €1.51, everyone's favourite chocolate spread Nutella, which will see a price hike of 8.4 percent meaning a jar will cost €4.39, and Ricard Pastis, which will go up by 9.9 percent to €20.61. 

The move is an attempt on the part of the government to create a better selling environment for smaller producers


Readers' tips: Which supermarket in France is the best to shop at?

With the new law in place big brands will be forced to sell the products in question with at least a ten percent margin. 

That means that if a product was bought by the supermarket for €1 it would have to be sold for at least €1.10 in a bid to make it impossible to sell food at a loss to small producers and farmers. 

“The price rises will affect households by between €14 and €38 per year,” said France's Competition Authority. 

At Carrefour supermarkets, the price increase will average 35 cents per product.


un produit – product

un producteur, une productrice – producer

les grandes marques – big brands

être vendu – to be sold

une perte – a loss

une hausse – rise/hike

We're aiming to help our readers improve their French by translating relevant vocabulary from our news stories of the day. Did you find articles like these useful? Do you have any suggestions? Let us know.


Member comments

  1. Laws like this never work. All they do is force the price of commodities up so no one benefits except the Government. Small shops will always be on a hiding to nothing as shopping patterns have changed and the consumer will never go back to the “old ways”.

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Reader question: Exactly how many different types of cheese are there in France?

One thing everyone can agree on is that France has a lot of cheese - but exactly how many French fromages exist?

Reader question: Exactly how many different types of cheese are there in France?

Question: I often see a quote from Charles de Gaulle talking about ‘246 different types of cheese’, but other articles say there are 600 or even 1,000 different types of cheese and some people say there are just eight types – how many different cheeses are there in France?

A great question on a subject dear to French hearts – cheese.

But it’s one that doesn’t have a simple answer.

Charles de Gaulle did indeed famously say “How can anyone govern a country with 246 different types of cheese”, but even in 1962 when he uttered the exasperated phrase, it was probably an under-estimate.

READ ALSO 7 tips for buying cheese in France

The issue is how you define ‘different’ types of cheese, and unsurprisingly France has a complicated system for designating cheeses.

Let’s start with the eight – there are indeed eight cheese ‘families’ and all of France’s many cheeses can be categorised as one of;

  • Fresh cheese, such as cottage cheese or the soft white fromage blanc
  • Soft ripened cheese, such as Camembert or Brie
  • Soft ripened cheese with a washed rind, such as l’Epoisses or Pont l’Eveque
  • Unpasturised hard cheese such as Reblochon or saint Nectaire
  • Pasturised hard cheese such as Emmental or Comté
  • Blue cheese such as Roquefort 
  • Goat’s cheese
  • Melted or mixed cheese such as Cancaillot

But there are lots of different types of, for example, goat’s cheese.

And here’s where it gets complicated, for two reasons.

The first is that new varieties of cheese are constantly being invented by enterprising cheesemakers (including some which come about by accident, such as le confiné which was created in 2020).

The second is about labelling, geography and protected status.

France operates a system known as Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC or its European equivalent AOP) to designate food products that can only be made in a certain area.

As cheese is an artisan product, quite a lot of different cheese are covered by this – for example a blue sheep’s milk cheese is only Roquefort if it’s been aged in the caves in the village of Roquefort.

There are 63 listed AOC cheeses in France, but many more varieties that don’t have this protected status.

These include generic cheese types such as BabyBel and other cheeses that are foreign in origin but made in France (such as Emmental).

But sometimes there are both AOC and non-AOC versions of a single cheese – a good example of this is Camembert.

AOC Camembert must be made in Normandy by farmers who have to abide by strict rules covering location, milk type and even what their cows eat.

Factory-produced Camembert, however, doesn’t stick to these rules and therefore doesn’t have the AOC label. Is it therefore the same cheese? They’re both called Camembert but the artisan producers of Normandy will tell you – at some length if you let them – that their product is a totally different thing to the mass-produced offering.

There are also examples of local cheeses that are made to essentially the same recipe but have different names depending on where they are produced – sometimes even being on opposite sides of the same Alpine valley is enough to make it two nominally different cheeses.

All of which is to say that guessing is difficult!

Most estimates range from between 600 to 1,600, with cheese experts generally saying there are about 1,000 different varieties. 

So bonne dégustation!