Will Tesco bring us a taste of France?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

cheese from Normandy

The announcement by Tesco that it has signed a three year deal with the French retailer Carrefour to jointly buy from suppliers has received the typical noises in the press about how small suppliers (and big ones) will have their margins squeezed as both try to compete with online suppliers who don’t have to pay high street rents and high street business rates.

But could there also be a different motive. Is this a ploy by the tourist boards of France and the UK to widen our eating habits by introducing us to the cuisine of each other’s countries? My local Tesco carries camembert, brie, Port Salut, Roquefort and Saint Agur, But what of the other 360 or so French cheeses that France produces? Will we see those on our shelves? Will we start seeing regional French wines from small vineyards in out of the way villages and which are better than some of the mass-produced stuff we get on our shelves? Above all will Chablis come down in price and will some of the quality, small vineyard stock be available?

Chablis vineyards

Will the quality of French confiture replace some of aimless, sugary jams that have indeterminate tastes when compared to home-made ones? Who has time to bottle all the jams and preserves that you can get from a garden these days. And if you can, when you run out before the next crop arrives, supermarket jams can be a big let-down.

In return we can send some of our best cheeses to France as even my wife’s French relatives were surprised at just how good our cheeses can be. The number of times we have visited Neal’s in Borough Market or Paxton’s in London’s Jermyn Street so that French visitors can be stocked up for the return journey I cannot count. Mind you, we haven’t yet bought them “Stinking Bishop” to take back on Eurostar – that might be too much!

and Carrefour can introduce the French to the gastronomic delights of the Great British Breakfast or fish and chip takeaway meals for one!

Will we get decent bread and pastries just like those you collect from the corner boulangerie first thing in the morning when you are on holiday?   In return will Carrefour carry custard tarts and trifle?

No, what I suspect will happen is that the quality of the food in both chains will drop to a common level geared to price and what the buyers can push suppliers to accept. Suppliers will cut whatever corners they can to maintain business from such a he buying combine and we won’t get wonderful cheeses and the French won’t get appetising fish and chip meals for one from their freezer sections!

C’est la vie!

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