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COST OF LIVING

Not un œuf! Why there might be an egg shortage in France

Fans of eggs and foods that require egg products might see their grocery bills rise this winter, as bird flu and the cost of living crisis hammer poultry farmers across France. There may even be not un œuf eggs to go round.

Not un œuf! Why there might be an egg shortage in France
A picture taken in 2016 shows chickens at a henhouse near Loon-Plage. (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP)

Mayonnaise, quiche, omelettes – they all have one foundational ingredient in common, and soon it might become more scarce and more expensive in France.

The production of eggs – a food that 99 percent of French people consume – could drop by as much as 10 percent this year, according to reporting by Franceinfo.

Amid rising inflation, the price of eggs has already been increasing this year. Franceinfo estimated that the price of a box of six eggs has increased by 13 percent since September 2021. The head of the French supermarket giant, Système U, told the French news outlet that eggs have been one of their products whose price has increased the most in 2022.

Egg prices are rising for several reasons, namely the fact that the product may be facing a shortage in coming months.

The primary reason is that bird flu – an epidemic impacting poultry across France. While the disease typically does not spread to humans, it is lethal and highly contagious for poultry.

In France, the spread of bird flu forced farmers to have to slaughter approximately 770,000 animals since the beginning of the summer. This has led to a decrease in the number of hens available to produce eggs – and thus, fewer eggs.

As of November 10th, agriculture authorities announced that the risk of spread had increased from “moderate” to “high” in the country. This meant that further prevention measures needed to be put in place, specifically the confining of all outdoor poultry. 

France’s ministry of agriculture called the situation “exceptional” and “never before encountered in France due to its magnitude” on their website

In addition to the ongoing bird flu crisis, farmers are also faced with higher electricity bills and an increased cost of grain (used to feed poultry) as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine, forcing many to increase prices in order to meet costs.

On the other side – the cost of living crisis has impacted consumer habits, as well, with many more people opting for eggs as a more affordable source of protein, rather than meat, which has also become more expensive in recent months. 

Are there any possible solutions?

While some farmers have contested the government’s decision to require that chickens be confined indoors, arguing that it will not help stop the spread of the disease, the government sees the measure as transitional.

A vaccine will potentially be available in 2023, and it has been undergoing testing since June, with “tangible results expected in December or January,” according to the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau.

Fesneau told France Bleu that “the objective for us is to help farmers get through this period and to ensure that next year, with the vaccine, we have something that will allow us to approach the period more confidently.”

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MONEY

Where are the best places for buying second-hand in France?

In these economically and environmentally-straitened times, buying second-hand is well and truly in fashion in France. Here are some tips.

Where are the best places for buying second-hand in France?

It’s good for the wallet and good for the planet, as second-hand products are cheaper than new, and – in extending the lifespan of a product – you’re helping the planet, too, by cutting down the number of products being thrown away.

Today, a number of online and high street retailers have cottoned-on to the idea that second-hand shopping is increasingly popular. Amazon has its Amazon Warehouse, Vinted is popular among individuals for buying and selling clothes, Troc is a well-known second-hand retailer, Casino-owned C Discount offers a range of refurbished, pre-loved products, as do almost all the mobile phone and electrical goods retailers.

But where else could you go, and maybe help do some further good by helping a worthy cause?

Vides Greniers

The term literally means ‘empty attic’, and it’s basically a sales event that offers anyone who goes a chance to get their hands on some serious bargains, from clothes and shoes, to toys, small electricals and heaven knows what else. 

Think jumble / car boot sale with added French style. You’ll usually see signs advertising them from late spring to early autumn.

READ ALSO Vide grenier and brocante: The written and unwritten rules of France’s second-hand sales

Brocantes/Braderies/marchés aux puces

As well as vides greniers, private individuals can sell items they own at brocantes, braderies, or marchés aux puces – basically, these are all second-hand goods sales, albeit with some slight distinctions.

A brocante is slightly more upmarket vide grenier, and often includes furniture sales, so you may be able to snap up a sofa bargain. It’s also a common term for a shop that sells vintage or second-hand furniture, crockery, or household items

A braderie, on the other hand, is an annual street market. Lille hosts the most famous, but plenty of smaller towns hold braderies – expect to see independent traders selling a few wares at knockdown prices.

A Marché aux puces, meanwhile, is a flea market. You may have to rummage, but there will be second-hand gold in them thar piles of junk.

Emmaus

A charitableassociation founded by French Catholic Priest Abbe Pierre that is, frankly, beloved in France. There are around 175 Emmaus permanent brocante centres across France, where you’ll find all sorts of second-hand furniture, electricals, bicycles, clothes – basically, just about anything you could wish for – for next to nothing. 

Emmaus is online, too, at Label Emmaus, and has a clothing retail offshoot in the ever-popular Ding Fring stores.

Le Bon Coin

Le Bon Coin – literally, the good corner – has become arguably the online reference for classified adverts since it was founded in 2006.

You can buy pretty much anything on the site: property, furniture, cars, clothes, telephones, toys, or bicycles – and it’s very simple to use.

A large search bar allows you to filter what you see, according to product, location, price range, size. Then, once you’ve found what you’re looking for, contact the seller via a secure messaging system, or make an offer.

You can even pay for the goods online using the site’s secure payment system. Alternatively, you can pay the seller direct if you agree to meet to finalise the purchase.

Geev

Cheaper still than Le Bon Coin, there’s Geev which allows individuals to offer their unwanted products free to a good home. Watch out, too, for similar sites, such as Donnons.orgRecupe.net or Toutdonner.com – who knows? You may find something.

Like Le Bon Coin, you can filter your search – but you must first specify your address. And be aware that there’s no option online for having goods delivered. You have to meet face to face.

eBay

And don’t forget eBay, which  has been running for more than 25 years, and sells its fair share of second-hand goods, with a 30-day return guarantee.

GensdeConfiance

This site intends to offer more secure, reliable items. Similar to Le Bon Coin, the things you can sell and purchase are broad reaching, but the primary difference is that in order to access this website you must be recommended by other people who are already members. This is meant to make transactions more reliable. You can also buy and offer services, such as babysitting and childcare, on Gens de Confiance.

Vinted

While Vinted is more geared toward buying and selling used clothes and shoes – with a broad selection of popular and vintage brands – you can also find some household items too. 

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