Globalisation of the baguette
Lidl are the biggest "discount alimentaire" store in France and are very proliferate in the Pyrenees Orientales with 19 stores. When you consider that the population of the PO is only 450,000 people, the German discount store has a firm grip on the short and curlies of the "hard discount" market here.
I'm a fan of Lidl, for a once a month shop, to stock up, and for pasta, toilet roll, tins of tomatoes, nuts, dried fruits and toiletries, you can't beat it for price. They also do the tastiest ice cream, some really nice Italian cold meats, a selection of good cheeses and their cleaning products are ace.
I do have a problem with their 29cent baguettes though - no independent bakery can compete with this cut throat price for crying out loud, with the average price being about 80cents for a baguette in the local corner shop.
Not all the Lidls sell 'Votre pain frais quotidien cuit sur place', but those that do are situated near towns like the ones near Canet village and Port Vendres for example. So bread buyers saunter into a German store to purchase their traditional french bread .. with baguettes under one arm, they probably pick up a few other essentials under the other arm and off they trot, saving themselves an average of 50cents per baguette. Quickly doing the sums ( I am an accountant , after all!!), an average french household consumes 2 baguettes per day, so a saving of 7euros per week, 350euros per year, not to be snuffed at...
Meanwhile, your local baker gets squeezed out of the market and the little ole lady who used to home bake her lovely chocolate cakes and friandises alongside her trusty baguette becomes a distant memory. Two bakeries have closed down in Port Vendres since Lidl began their loss leader tactics.
The little guy has come out in some towns to protest against the German giants but it's a free market, with no price fixing and unfortunately with the economics in the PO; a low average wage and an aging population, this means that the bread loving public are flocking to their local Lidl.
It's a sad day for France when the local small artisan is forced out of the market by the greedy globalisation of "les grandes surfaces"
C'mon guys, leave the poor little boulangerie alone! In this case, L'idéal ce n'est pas Lidl!!