French economy minister Bruno Le Maire is getting involved in the heated discussions on “greedflation”: if the big food manufacturers do not cut prices, the government will intervene fiscally, he threatens.
Persistently high food inflation continues to stir up tempers: food multinationals are accused of keeping prices artificially high, even as commodity and energy prices are falling again. A typical example is the trade dispute between Colruyt and confectionery manufacturer Mondelez, which received considerable media attention this week.
Politicians are also getting involved in the debate: French economy minister Bruno Le Maire thinks the big food manufacturers should lower their prices. “We will demand an effort from those who make the margins. Today it is the big food producers who make the margins, so they must participate,” he said on Thursday. He wants price negotiations with retailers to be reopened to bring prices down again, Le Parisien reported.
He added a threat: “If the food industry refuses to enter into these negotiations, which I obviously cannot imagine, we will use all available tools, including the fiscal instrument, to recover unjustified margins allegedly made on the backs of consumers.”
At the same time, the French government is asking supermarket chains to extend the “anti-inflation quarter”, offering the lowest possible price for a selection of basic products. In a reaction, Intermarché chief Thierry Cotillaard declared that such an extension is only possible if manufacturers cooperate. In France, food inflation is around 15%.