Sky-high chicken prices on French island ruffle feathers

Prices of food are up to 38 percent higher in French overseas territories (AFP Photo/ELIOT BLONDET)

Paris (AFP) - Long-simmering anger over the high cost of living in French overseas territories resurfaced this week with a tweet about an organic chicken from mainland France which sold for an eye-watering 51 euros.

A lawmaker from French Guiana posted a photo of the bird and lashed out at French supermarket chain U over the price in an outlet on the Caribbean island of Saint-Martin. It was retweeted 5,000 times.

Gabriel Serville pointed out that "20 percent of people in the Antilles and 45 percent of people in Guiana live on less than 420 euros a month."

"Who pays 51 euros for a chicken? A chicken, even if it's roasted, does not coast 51 euros on the mainland," an outraged consumer said.

"A chicken at that price, I hope it's in business class on a plane with a glass of champagne," another tweet said.

Serville said he had written to French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in March asking him to take "concrete steps" to fight inflation in the French Caribbean where hypermarkets earn profit margins of up to 55 percent on food items.

"No response," he tweeted.

A spokesman from the U chain defended the pricing.

"The explanation of this price is sadly, simple: there is no local production and organic chickens are flown in," he told AFP.

"This chicken on the mainland sells for 10.75 euros a kilo, but when it is flown out it costs 12 euros to transport.

"Therefore for a two-kilo chicken you arrive at a figure of 45 euros and adding taxes and profit margins, you reach a figure of 51 euros."

Prices of food in the overseas territories were found to be up to 38 percent higher than in mainland France by a state-run body in July.