With accelerated inflation, Brazilians lose achievements that came with the Real Plan – Economy

The price shock that led to inflation in March at 1.62%, the highest mark for the month in 28 years, and that of the last 12 months at 11.30% caused an abrupt loss of consumption achievements of Brazilians since the Real plan. Çarne, yogurt, cheese, stuffed cookies, items that had become accessible in recent decadesare now leaving the shopping list of part of the population – which is the most visible example of a situation of loss of income, high unemployment and higher costs.

in recent months, 73.1% of consumers stopped buying meatalmost 10% cut out yogurt, cheese, dairy and alcoholic beverages and close to 6% did not take cookies and beans homestaple food, reveals research by the Union of Retail Foodstuffs of the State of São Paulo (Sincovaga), made by JFP Consultoria and obtained by Estadão.

The study, which heard 200 consumers with a family income of up to ten minimum wages (R$ 12,120) when they were shopping in supermarkets in São Paulo, shows that 52% stopped consuming some product between food, beverages, in natura items and cleaning articles. With the skyrocketing prices, 79% of respondents started to take a smaller volume of items home.

the janitor Marcelo Domingos dos Santos50 years old, is one of those who put a brake on consumption. he spends today BRL 700 shopping at the supermarket, without taking everything he needs home, where he lives with his wife and two children. Until recently, he paid BRL 500 and left the supermarket with a full cart.

“It’s been a year since we reduced meat consumption. Even the ground is hard to buy,” she says. Yogurt, one of the symbols of improved consumption brought about by the Plano Real, he doesn’t even remember when he last bought it.

With expensive gasoline, option is the neighborhood market

The change in Brazilian consumption habits caused by the soaring inflation goes beyond reducing the quantities of basic products purchased and eliminating others. It also affects the choice of when and where to buy. is that the strong fuel increase imposed additional transport costs.

A Sincovaga survey shows, for example, that 67% of consumers are shopping less frequently and almost half (46%) admit that the increase in the price of fuel influences the choice of store where the expense is made. The preference became neighborhood marketwhere you can walk. This is the place chosen by 46.3% of respondents, surpassing supermarkets (29.6%), hypermarkets (22.2%) and even online commerce (20.4%).

Because of the smaller movement in these establishments and the slower turnover of goods, Álvaro Furtado, president of Sincovagaexplains that the neighborhood store takes longer to update prices. Also for this reason, the neighborhood store gains consumer preference in an environment of high inflation, he argues.

Researching prices (75.3%), prioritizing promotions (61%) and trying more affordable brands (59.7%) have been the strategies used to make the purchase fit the budget.

double exchange

One result of the research that draws a lot of attention is that in two years, since the beginning of the pandemic, 67% of respondents have already switched product brands twice to save. “This is the picture of poverty”, says Furtado. The brand switch shows that those who need to put food on the table buy what money allows, he says. “The double downgrade (downgrade) of the brand points to the seriousness of the economic and social situation that we live”, says the retail consultant Eugênio Foganholo, partner at Mixxer Desenvolvimento Empresarial.

In addition to the spike in the prices of several items, influenced by the recent war between Ukraine and Russia, the background of these changes in consumption, according to Furtado and Foganholo, is the damage that inflation has caused to income, reducing citizens’ purchasing capacity. .

In the quarter ended in February, the last available data, the The worker’s real average income, which also includes informality, was R$2,511, a result 8.8% lower than in the same period in 2021, according to the IBGE’s Continuous National Household Sample Survey.

This picture is repeated for formal workers in private companies. In the last 12 months to February, 55.7% of readjustments lost to inflationo, 15.1% managed to replace only the losses and only 29.2% exceeded inflation, points out the “Salariometer” of the Economic Research Institute Foundation (Fipe)accompanying the results of the negotiations gathered by the Ministry of Economy.

For Furtado, the current moment is worse in relation to other periods of high inflation in the past. This is because, although outdated, in the past wages were corrected, which rescued the purchasing power of the consumer. “Today, however, this gap (difference) is large”, he evaluates.

In Foganholo’s opinion, both moments – from hyperinflation before the Plano Real and the current inflationary shock – are terrible. However, he considers that in the 1990s Brazilians were more prepared to live in an inflationary environment. “After more than 25 years with tamed inflation, unfortunately this process has returned and the big shock is the sudden change in which it is realized that the condition that used to be for consumption no longer exists.”