• • • As French supermarkets increase food prices, will farmers benefit?
The price of hundreds of food items in France is going up on Friday as a law comes into effect aimed at redistributing supermarket revenue so that farmers are paid more for what they produce. Supermarkets are no longer allowed to sell popular items, like Nutella or Coca-Cola, at a discount to attract customers. And they are encouraged to put the extra revenue into increasing the amount they pay farmers.
Stores are now required to sell hundreds of products at least ten percent more than the price they paid for them. The extra money will, in theory, allow supermarkets to increase what they pay farmers for basic foods like fruits and vegetables, milk and meat – products on which they make a 30 to 40 percent margin, according to French agriculture minister Didier Guillaume.
“What I ask of supermarkets is to find a way to spread their margins differently, to better distribute things,” said Guillaume on Wednesday. “The goal is that agricultural products are sold at their proper value.” The measures are part of a food and agriculture law passed at the end of October 2018, and which was a campaign promise of President Emmanuel Macron, to address concerns of farmers – an important voting bloc – who have been suffering in price wars between supermarket retailers.