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Meat products price survey for shopper in Calais, France –

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Meat Products – price survey

Meat is now quite expensive in France. Like many who have been buying steaks and other goodies in French supermarkets for years, I have it impossible to start buying meat in the United Kingdom.

Why? Well, the French have a different attitude to meat, and the presentation of meat in English supermarkets puts me off. Not only does the meat look as if it has been rudely butchered with an axe, the colour is anything but natural. In England we happily leave the gristle, fat and bone on the muscle, or add it in, to cheapen the product (mince for example). The French regard "meat" as "muscle" and so cut off everything else. They also cut it in many different ways, all of which adds to the experience of enjoying a steak. As for pre prepared, ready to roast items, well, there's just no comparison.

Where the animal is reared and how it is fed are also important to French consumers. So is presentation of the meat and the skill of the butcher. Perhaps if you are looking for a difference between France and English shopping habits, we would advise you to look at the meat counter. Although meat is now more expensive in France, we still buy our meat there.

October 2010 – Take chicken breasts for example. LIDL have some good value offers which are cheaper than anything we found in the U.K. Beaf will cost more, but that may be more to do with the way it is prepared (they cut the fat and gristle off in France) than anything else.

We find it interesting that French labels tend to celebrate old fashioned farming methods. Look at a product with the "Label Rouge" mark for example. A recent pack of chicken breasts I bought, mentioned that the chickens were raised for at least 12 weeks outside, that they do not use GM grains or feed, that the farmer is working to enhance the environment locally (a contribution to a local tree planting programme is made with every purchase) and that the chickens were free to roam. The price is about 50% more than in the United Kingdom, but the quality and flavour are superb, as anyone who has bought a chicken in France well knows.

Don't overload! – more

Best Buys include dried meats, hams and pates. The range is considerable – odeal for Xmas presents.

CREDIT CARDS – we suggest you ring your credit card company before shopping in France – increased fraud means they are turning down shoppers cards if their spending deviates from the norm. Take your mobile – you can often sort the problem out over the phone.


The range of meat products is much greater in French supermarkets. It may initially be a bit daunting when faced with so many cuts but try a few and you will soon know which one you like best. The origin of the beef affects its texture, taste and tenderness.

In general;

Steak Haché is ground beef. In France this usually means a higher percentage of muscle with less fat than one finds in the United Kingdom.

Bavette is from the main body of the cow along the side of the cow and is tasty and tender. Also known as flank or skirt.

Biftek is from the from leg near the shoulder and offers good value.

Châteaubriand, cœur de filet – thick sections from the centre of the muscle that lies along the back, below the spine.

Entrecote is from the muscle behing the shoulder, above the ribs and is tasty and tender. Also known as rib steak.

Faux Fillet (sometimes contre filet) is tender and tasty, from the back of the cow. Also known as Sirloin Steak.

Filet or tournedo is from the muscle above the onglet and regarded as the tastiest and best of all steaks. Also known as filet, filet mignon, tournedo.

Onglet is a piece of beef from a long muscle near the top of the rear leg.

Rumsteck is from the rear of the cow, near the tail. Also known as rumpsteak.

Tartare is a good quality piece of beef eaten raw, with an egg yoke, herbs and spices.

Doing surveys and comparing products between countries is often very difficult. Our objective is to establish in general terms whether a range of products is cheaper or not, and where possible, specific products. However, not only do package sizes vary, but content as well sometimes. Special Offers distort prices temporarily. We have therefore used the French sizes as a standard and worked out the English price pro-rata. Where it is impossible to adjust for differences (size of pineapples for example) we list the United Kingdom and French prices. We suggest you print these pages and take them with you as a rough guide. In general, French hypermarket labels are more informative and will show you the price per litre or kilogram as well (United Kingdom prices often just the item price), United Kingdom products come in smaller sizes, and there is less of a choice.

Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of these surveys, and has carried out considerable in depth research, they should be seen as a guide only and not definitive.

Survey of Meat prices in Calais supermarkets

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(UK) £
Auchan % cheaper in France Buy in France
Meat Products
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beef cuts

Useful Outside links

– Check out the latest catalogue / leaflet offers (PDF).

French marques of quality, Label Rouge.

le grand defi tripier – Le Grand défi Tripier.

– French website promoting pork.

rip off britain – Rip-off United Kingdom.

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