Constance Rabany

Constance Rabany

Head of Insights
17th May 2019

This month, we have chosen to highlight 3 categories of traditional fresh products: meat, fish and cheese. These categories are essential for retailers and even more today with the success of retailers like “Grand Frais” and trends around “Eat less but better”. The right execution of traditional fresh product’s sections can become a major asset of differentiation but also to create customer preference and build loyalty.

The objective of this study was to understand customer’s trends and expectations on traditional fresh products but also specifically to see which retailer makes the best use of these categories. We conducted a survey in more than 300 hypermarkets during the month of April 2019.


The hypermarket remains the first point of purchase for traditional fresh products whether for meat, fish or cheese. About 6 consumers out of 10 are going to the dedicated stand in their hypermarket. Regarding the meat, traditional butchers remain significant with more than the half of respondents buying their meat there. Regarding the cheese, the competition takes place within the hypermarket with the self-service section.

Today, the first decision criterion to buy from the traditional stand of the hypermarket is the price. Indeed, the price is mentioned in 2 cases out of 3 before “Time saving” and “Choice”. These are the most important criteria whether for the butchery, fishmonger or cheese dairy.

But there is more work to be done on the perception of the quality/price ratio in order to establish a position between specialists and the self-service section. Indeed, on the one hand, specialists can enhance their image concerning quality, they provide advice and fit in the “Local consuming” trend. On the other hand, self-service sections are seen as more practical, cheaper while offering a large selection. The challenge is to find the right balance!


Retailers have fully understood the great importance of traditional fresh products: in visited stores, 98% have a fishmonger’s stand, 92% have a cheese dairy’s stand and 89% have a butcher's stand.

“Intermarché”, “Cora” & “Leclerc" get the best scores with more than 9 stores out of 10 offering the 3 stands to their consumers whereas “Casino” is behind with a butcher’s stand located in only 72% of its stores.

To evaluate the quality of these traditional stands, we have questioned shoppers on various criteria: perception of freshness, variety of choice, quality/price ratio and presence of local products (a strong expectation for shoppers). We have collected their general impressions thanks to the question “On a five-point scale, does this section makes you want to buy a product?”. Based on their answers, we have calculated scores by sections, then a global score for each retailer.

Aside from “Géant Casino” which is more behind, the gap between retailers remains until now relatively low. “Leclerc” receives the highest rate thanks to scores above all the item’s average. “Intermarché” and “Leclerc” especially stand out on the butcher's stand, which is the stand with the highest gaps whereas “Auchan” stands out on the cheese dairy. “Intermarché” is the retailer that has the best quality/price ratio, according to consumers.

Some in-store pictures:

Leclerc, Marmoutier (France)

Auchan, Perpignan (France)

Cora, Mondelange (France)


Many consumers are buying their traditional fresh products in hypermarkets because they find benefits in terms of price, choices and convenience. However, none of the retailers actually stand out: there is a place to take for the improvement of these sections’ perception. Many retailers already have announced several actions regarding traditional fresh products for this year.

Some areas of action are often suggested by our shoppers: to offer a larger choice, to highlight more local products, to give more recipe’s advice, to offer promotions on some key products. All of these ideas will allow retailers to get closer to specialists’ quality while remaining accessible.

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