by Adrian Filoche
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madness Big Fresh keep enthralling Primorsky Seine with the opening of the fifth store in the branch at the end of September 2022, in Sainte-Marie-des-Champs (Seine-Maritime)to close from Iveto. This large square between a market and a hypermarket is inspired by the configuration of covered markets and traditional halls, where products are carefully arranged on smooth and perfectly ordered shelves.
Originally from Lyon, the distribution chain was launched in 1992. Sells food products by managing the shelves Salt, Despi or Novoviande for the butcher Euro ethnic dishes on products and Marie Blascher for bakery But are these products local?
To try to answer it, we interviewed several players, including Seine-Marine manufacturers. We also visited the Grand Frais store in Rouen.
Fresh, local and seasonal fruits and vegetables?
Justin LemaitreGeneral Secretary Young farmers from the Primorsky Seine, first opined that “Grand Frais seems to be making an effort to offer French and seasonal fruits and vegetables. As far as the origin of the food is concerned, it seems to be in line with our principles.” And we will add: “For the vast majority of goods, we believe that the prices are correct. And if it benefits local producers, so much the better. »
Grand Frais states on its website that it works with “ more than 800 manufacturers in France. Our fresh fruits and vegetables are carefully selected every day to guarantee you the best level of freshness and taste! “. If we clearly notice the mention of French origin on the labels of certain fruits and vegetables from Grand Frais de Rouen, however no indication of exact origin products, just like in most traditional hypermarkets.
A controversial label
Olivier Lanerepresentative of Upper Normandy Peasant confederation, wants to be more suspicious. In particular, he denies HVE label — High environmental value — widely advertised by the brand. “Today, more than 50% of our partner farms have a certificate of high environmental value,” Grand Frais explains on its website.
At Grand Frais in Rouen, we were indeed able to see this label on many products. “This is complete bullshit. This is not a guarantee of quality at all,” replies Olivier Laine. The HVE label, which originated at the Grenelle Environment Forum in 2008, confirms this respectful agricultural practices environment “High ecological value is an official French certificate that promotes agricultural methods that are more environmentally friendly,” the Ministry of Agriculture notes in this regard.
Fixed UFC-Que Choisir
In early 2021, UFC-Que Choisir questioned and wrote: “The High Environmental Value (HVE) label, which encourages farmers to take measures that are good for the environment and biodiversity, further competes with organic because ‘it’s not.’ not so demanding. »
Still under UFC-Que Choisir, association Natural Environment in France (FNE) and Action for the EnvironmentPeasants’ Confederation and Syndicate of Organic Processors and Distributors (Synabio) condemned the “illusion of ecological transition”, calling it “massive greenwashing” and “deception” of consumers.
“Certainly, the specs are tight, generally going in the right direction. But it has serious flaws, the consumer association details. First of all, pesticides are not excluded, including the most harmful ones. » In September 2022, the newspaper in world noted that “HVE has a lower level of requirements than AB [ndlr, Agriculture Biologique] “. In addition, AB or HVE marks do not allow to certify that the products are local.
Meat from France?
As for dairy and meat, Justin Lemaître of the Young Farmers of the Seine Sea believes that Grand Fry sometimes exhibits ” lack of transparency. It says “made by our butcher”, but we don’t always know the origin of the raw materials. “Made or processed in France” means nothing. We are always wary when we see this mention.”
Again, at Grand Frais in Rouen, be it chicken, pork or beef, we saw that most products on the shelves marked origin Franceand other flocks origin Great Britain or Spain. The references, sometimes in small letters, remain relatively legible even for goods not originating in France. However, for meat in French, it is impossible to check whether it is really local or not.
When questioned, Patrice Faucon, president of the FNSEA (National Federation of Farmers Unions), states that he has no contact with Grand Fries. “Its creation in the territory is recent, it is a brand that does not make noise. At the moment, we don’t have enough background,” he explains. Also asked the Grand Frais brand did not want to answer our questions.
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