On Monday, Finance and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire launched a three-month anti-inflation package in cooperation with most major French supermarket chains. The plan, which will cost both companies “hundreds of millions of euros”, will offer select products at the lowest possible prices.
The 3-month plan is funded by the supermarket itself. The chain has agreed to temporarily cut its profit margins by hundreds of millions of euros.
The announcement follows negotiations between the minister and the majority of the largest supermarket operators. France’s largest Leclerc group did not participate in the negotiations. This system will continue until the end of June.
The lowest prices are up to the supermarkets themselves and vary from chain to chain.
All will be specially labeled in the colors of the French flag and bear the “Anti-Inflation Drive” logo.
Most of them are selected from the supermarket’s own brand products, which gives companies the most freedom.
Le Maire also announced the government’s plan to offer food coupons to the least wealthy “in the coming months.”
The project will be the first to be tested at the local level and aims to give the most modest households access to fresh, local produce.
Two separate anti-inflation projects
The Minister emphasized that the two projects are different. Food coupons are for the benefit of specific target groups, while supermarket price deals are aimed at all consumers.
At the end of the three-month anti-inflationary measures, commercial talks with major manufacturers will resume to ensure that price cuts affecting raw materials are quickly communicated to consumers.
Some supermarket groups have already launched their own low-price projects. inflation.
Michel Edouard LeclercThe boss of France’s leading supermarket chain says he boycotted the talks because he didn’t want his company to be used for political purposes. “We didn’t wait for the minister’s announcement to offer the lowest price,” he said.
Several consumer protection groups have criticized the plan, warning that “the lowest possible price” is meaningless without a legal framework to define prices.
Mr. Olivier Andrault of Consumer Group UFC So-called “anti-inflationary prices” are in danger of becoming normal prices with fancy labels, he said.
The minister promised to send a team of inspectors to ensure supermarkets do not burden suppliers with the financial burden of cutting prices.
Food price inflation in February was 14.5% compared to last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20230306-french-economy-minister-strikes-anti-inflation-deal-with-supermarkets French economy minister signs anti-inflation pact with supermarkets