Belgian shoppers turn to French supermarkets for cheaper food

Belgian shoppers are increasingly crossing the border to buy groceries. New figures from trade federation Comeos reported in De Standaard on Monday show that in the first quarter of 2023, Belgians spent almost 70 per cent more in France than in the same period last year.

According to Comeos, cross-border purchases totalled 688 million euros in the first quarter, with 423 million euros spent in France. 

Price differences between Belgian and French supermarkets widened last year as inflation in Belgium doubled. Belgian supermarkets complained that they could not fully pass on price increases from food producers. The automatic linking of inflation to wages also increased labour costs.

“A survey we commissioned showed that 37 per cent of Belgians regularly make purchases abroad,” says Dominique Michel, CEO of Comeos. “Half of Belgians live less than an hour from the border. “Almost one in three people in Wallonia lives less than 20 km from the border.”

Since 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, the value of border trade with France has risen 42 per cent increase. Comeos expects that growth to continue.



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