“Invisible Switzerland.”  How the middle class falls into poverty

It’s eight in the morning. At Epicerie Caritas in Lausanne, employees are very busy. Before opening this solidarity store, they put kilograms of vegetables and fruits delivered here around the world on the shelves. Manager Ricardo Rocha’s team selects local apples, grapes, oranges, onions and potatoes. Attractive posters show prices ranging from 30 to 50 percent. Less than in supermarkets.

-We practically do not make any profit on margin. The manager explains that our income barely covers the current costs of maintaining the store.

Mainly cheap food is available here, as well as basic hygiene products and even some toys. With inflation rising in recent months, grocery stores have become a meeting place for a growing number of Swiss families who cannot afford basic life necessities.

More than 200 people visit the store in Lausanne every day. You’ll meet a neighbor in a hurry, a retiree carefully considering all the promotions, a mom checking diaper prices, and a student checking her bank account balance on her phone before arriving at the cash register.

For many Swiss, going to a regular supermarket like Migros (the country’s largest retailer – ed.) or Coop (British grocery chain – ed.) in 2023 has become a luxury.

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