French supermarket food prices to rise by 10%, warns industry chief

Food inflation is already at 15% in France. Now there are warnings prices could rise even higher

Prices are set to rise above inflation as producers and supermarkets reach the end of a difficult negotiation period
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Supermarket food prices in France will rise around 10% from this month, a key industry chief has warned.

Jacques Creyssel, who heads up a national supermarket federation, made the assertion to French media as annual price negotiations between stores and their suppliers drew to a conclusion.

The expected hikes come with food inflation in France already at 15% year-on-year and hygiene and beauty products at 18%.

Prices are being pushed higher by the rising cost of packaging, energy, fuel, and raw materials.

Overall, figures from statistics bureau Insee, show that consumer prices in general rose by 6.2% year-on-year in February 2023.

Read more: Why food prices are at risk of rising again in France from March

Mr Creyssel, the head of the Fédération du commerce et de la distribution, told FranceInfo: “The negotiations have ended for French SMEs. These price rises will extend over time until the summer, as items are restocked.”

The price rises, he added, will reach around 10% and affect many everyday items, including “food products, and some items in the chemist, beauty, and hygiene [departments]”.

He said: “We will try as much as possible to fight against inflation and to limit these rises, with promotional offers, but the rises are unavoidable.”

Larger brands ‘imposing iron fist’

Mr Creyssel added that negotiations with larger brands had been “more complicated”, and accused them of “imposing an iron fist with totally unjustified positions, and rises of 15-16% on average”. He said that this would be “impossible” within the context of dropping purchasing power.

He said he had called on brands to “take collective responsibility”. He named brands including Nestlé, Unilever, and Coca-Cola, which he said “make gigantic profits, around 12-15% clear margins” and which, despite this, “absolutely do not want to take part in the effort” requested by the government.

President Emmanuel Macron and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire have both asked supermarkets and suppliers to “make an effort” on prices, by reducing their profit margins.

Anti-inflation basket

The government’s long-discussed “anti-inflation basket” of goods at affordable prices has still not been introduced. Ministers are still reportedly discussing which 50 items will be included in the basket.

Read more: What is ‘basket of low-cost basic goods’ plan for French supermarkets?

Once decided, these items would be available at lower prices, to ensure that shoppers can still buy essentials. Supermarket bosses, including the head of E.Leclerc, have said that in principle they are in agreement with the idea, but that in practice it will not be viable due to rising prices.

The basket would contain products from five broad categories:

  • Fresh produce (at least 5 fruits and vegetables, 3 of which are organic);
  • Meat (red or white, including one with an official quality label) and fish
  • Frozen food
  • grocery products
  • Personal hygiene and cleaning products.

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