In the fight against inflation, Bruno Le Maire intends to put pressure this Wednesday on the agri-food industry. They are indeed summoned to Bercy by the government, which urges them to renegotiate with supermarkets in order to lower very high prices on the shelves as quickly as possible.

If, at the beginning of the war in Ukraine, some industrialists "quickly passed on the rise (in grain or energy prices), they were less quickly passed on the recent decline" in some prices, lamented Emmanuel Macron Monday on TF1. The head of state therefore called for "reopening negotiations" with large retailers. "The goal is to absorb this (food) inflation by the fall," he added, inflation measured at nearly 15% year-on-year in April.

Negotiations completed on 1 March

Each year, the prices of products sold to supermarkets are set after a period of negotiation. The one for 2023, completed on March 1, resulted in an average increase of about 10% in the prices paid by retailers to manufacturers. The latter demanded increases to take into account the increase in their production costs. But since then, the costs of certain agricultural raw materials or energy have tended to stabilize or even fall.

The government therefore insists that manufacturers must lower the selling price to supermarkets. In case of refusal, "we will use all the instruments at our disposal, including the fiscal instrument, to recover margins that would be undue margins made on the backs of consumers," warned Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.

Faced with three members of the government - the Minister of the Economy, the Minister Delegate for Industry Roland Lescure, and the Minister Delegate for Trade, Olivia Grégoire - they are the representatives of Ania, the main organization of agri-food manufacturers and Ilec, which carries the voice of manufacturers of major brands (Coca-Cola, Danone, L'Oréal or Nestlé), who are expected at Bercy. They have already indicated that they are ready to discuss again on a case-by-case basis, but that there could not be "renegotiations on all products", according to Jean-Philippe André, president of Ania.

FNSEA worries about price war

These verbal jousts are taking place under the worried eye of farmers, who always fear that price wars will be to the detriment of their own incomes. On RTL Monday, the new president of the FNSEA, Arnaud Rousseau, called on the government to appoint those who "abuse". He also warned that, in any case, prices would not return to their pre-crisis levels, a point on which he agrees with the most media representative of supermarkets, Michel-Edouard Leclerc.

  • Economy
  • Inflation
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  • Food
  • Minister of the Economy
  • Bruno Le Maire