Inflation continues to haunt Argentina, a fact that’s all the more noticeable when it’s feeding time and you’re left choosing between the generic brand of pasta or enriched super kind you were used to buying at your local chino.
Yolanda Durán, the president of the Business Chamber of Argentine And Southeast Asian Development (CEDEAPSA), confirmed that consumers are choosing to buy cheaper or off-brand products to offset rising prices: “People buy the cheapest products, the essentials,” she said. “While they used to buy cartons of milk before, now they tend to buy the plastic bag containers instead.”
And not only are consumers opting for cheaper or lower quality products, many are walking out of markets with fewer groceries: “Before people used to leave our supermarkets with seven or eight products, now they leave with a packet of noodles and one or two cans,” Durán said.
The rise in prices has begun to worry President Mauricio Macri’s administration and is forcing the government to look for ways to control inflation and prices as social discontent mounts.
The National Director of Consumer Protection, Fernando Muiño, is planning to release an app that will monitor the costs of 1,000 products through mobile phones so that consumers can check up on prices before hitting the store. Nonetheless, he admits the app will not be enough to curb current consumer expenses and has made a bold and unexpected suggestion for consumers: boycotts.
“In a context like the current one, where some sectors unfairly subsidize prices, boycotting is a valid option,” Muiño said.
The app is set to be released in April and at first will monitor a thousands products. A web page in the Production Ministry will also users to load a “virtual cart” to compare the prices of products across various supermarket chains.
This is not the first time consumers have been told to boycott goods: the soaring price of meat led politicians to encourage Argentines to eat less meat in order to pressure the meat industry to decrease costs.