A best-selling product in France, Cristaline packaging will experience its first inflation in 20 years

The French leader in bottled water will raise its selling price to major retailers by 10%. Sold at an average of €1 per pack of 6 bottles, Cristaline will see its first increase since 2002.

It is the best-selling product every year in France in supermarkets. The package of six 1.5 liter crystalline bottles sold more than 233 million copies in 2021 in France according to NielsenIQ. Therefore, more than seven packs of crystals are sold every second in the country.

And in a few days, Cristaline buyers will have to pay more money to buy their favorite bottles of water. The Alma group, which owns the Cristaline brand created in 1992, decided to increase the retail price. According to consumer specialist Olivier Duvers, the price increase will be about 10%.

The price increase can be described as historic. Cristaline is sold at an average of € 1.03 per pack of 6 in supermarkets, and its price has not changed for more than 20 years! In 2012, Pierre Papeloud, the creator of Cristaline who died in 2017, told the Journal du Center that the price of his water had not changed in more than 10 years.

“Since switching to the euro, he said at the time. At the time, yes, we increased our rates. But since then, nothing.”

Sold at €1.02 a pack in 2012 in supermarkets, it’s still in these waters 10 years later. Productivity gains in factories, reduction in the weight of plastic bottles (barely more than 20 grams per large bottle compared to 30 for competitors), doubling of the sources from which water is extracted (32 in France against 17 15 years) in order to reduce transportation costs … are Low cost brand mechanisms lubricate well bottled water to maintain stable selling price despite high costs.

plastic burns 39%

But this time, inflation is too high even for crystalline. With the oil boom, the cost of PET plastics rose more than 39% between October and May according to Polyvia’s raw material scale. Added to this is the cost of fuel for transportation between sources, packing plants and points of sale.

In order not to deteriorate its profit margins, Cristaline decided to increase its retail price. Will the latter pass the excess on to the final consumer? According to the site Drinks sectionCristaline pack prices vary widely by brand. From an average of 0.97€ at Leclerc to 1.16€ at Casino, Cristaline is an important price tag for brand customers. If Leclerc passes the full increase to the final price, Cristaline’s packaging will exceed the €1 mark (1.07 to be exact) in its stores. An increase of 10 cents is possible for the consumer but would have a strong symbolic dimension in the perception of inflation.

Especially since the Cristaline range is one of 120 products “protected” by Leclerc’s anti-inflation shield launched on May 4. Until July 31, the brand pledges to offset price increases for key products found on its shelves in coupons. Whether or not it increases in price, this increase in Cristaline packaging will affect distributor margins. Unless its competitors fail to audit it for a few days.

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