The concern was palpable, this Monday, on the side of the Frères Delassic cheese dairy in Lille. “Many customers have asked us if we are going to run out of raclette cheese», Confides the manager of the shop to Figaro. And for good reason, the rumor of a shortage of processed cheese, in full containment, swells. “Our suppliers have assured us that they will be able to supply us normally in the coming weeks.», Reassures the manager.
Nothing to report, either, on the consumer side. “The market is healthy considering the period. Consumption is normal”, Suggests the Association of Traditional Cheeses of the Savoy Alps (AFTAlp). Moreover, at Frères Delassic, sales of cheese to be melted have certainly increased, “but with the decrease in traffic, linked to containment, we are making roughly the same sales as last year“. Same observation at the Xavier cheese factory in Toulouse: “The raclette season has started. We therefore left with good sales but they are not superior to other years».
In reality, the producers are above all worried about not being able to sell their stocks. “Some of the raclette cheese is sold to Ski stations . If they don’t open this winter, we risk having some surplus», Explains AFTAlp. “At least 15% of the production of Savoie raclette cheese is sold to ski resorts in winter», Specifies Jean-Luc Duclos, president of the association.
A shortage is not impossible, however. “Since 2017 we have observed a very strong increase in the demand for raclette cheese which can indeed give rise to shortages», Explains Jean-Luc Duclos. But it is still too early to announce, or not, a stock shortage. “Between the increased consumption of families, linked to confinement, and what we could lose in the station, the players in the sector are in uncertainty.», Summarizes the president of AFTAlp.
Exploding sales of raclette machines
One thing is certain, however, sales of raclette devices have exploded. “This is out of all proportion to last year. As in the first confinement, they sell very well because they are focused on family conviviality», Indicates a spokesperson for Fnac Darty Figaro. The group’s sales have indeed increased from 200 to 300% in the category “raclette, fondue and food processor“. Similar trend at Boulanger. “We already had a 20% increase in October which we explain by a more significant weather change than last year», Explains Eric Puzzuoli,« product leader »for culinary preparation and small cooking at Boulanger. But the confinement blew up sales of raclette devices “overnight». «They increased from 100 to 200% in November. We have sometimes come close to 300%He continues.
A remarkable trend for a “a ripe market», That is to say carried by no notable innovation. “This demand is explained by fixed weather. In addition, raclette is an accessible and easy dish to make», Eric Puzzuoli analyzes. But the main culprit behind these exponential numbers is, unsurprisingly, containment. “We mainly sell devices for 4 to 6 people. We feel that these are acquisitions for an immediate need and family use», He adds.
For those who have not yet invested in a raclette machine, there is no need to rush into the appliance departments. The two groups assure it, no shortage is to be feared.