Cuisine de France pastries could be pulled from shops over price row
GUT-BUSTING treats from pecan pies to frosted doughnuts could be in short supply at SuperValu and Centra stores for a couple of weeks after a major retail bust-up.
The Irish Independent has learnt that pastry and par-baked products company Cuisine de France and Cork-based Musgrave, which controls the SuperValu and Centra brands, have fallen out over product pricing.
Musgrave has rushed to find alternative suppliers to fill a gap that could have made the morning coffee break not quite what it used to be. Musgrave also owns Superquinn, but Cuisine de France does not supply the chain with any products.
Unless an agreement is reached, Cuisine de France products will cease to be available at Musgrave stores from January 28.
The Irish Independent understands that the bakery firm, which is owned by food group Aryzta, has been paying millions of euro a year in so-called rebates to Musgrave.
Insiders say that effectively means consumers end up paying more than they really should for their goods because suppliers have to try and recoup the money somehow. Suppliers are also expected to pay a substantial amount of money towards a centralised marketing fund.
It is believed that Cuisine de France sought a 6pc price hike for its products sold in Musgrave stores, but that the retailer refused to allow it, contributing to the break-up.
Musgrave is now sourcing goods to replace the Cuisine de France range from Irish suppliers, as well as one in Belgium.
Retail sources predict that if other suppliers follow suit and the 'rebate' model encounters increased resistance, it could spell a seismic shift for Irish consumers and potentially lower the prices.
Food prices in Ireland are the fifth-highest in the EU. Statistics agency Eurostat said last year that we pay 18pc more than the EU average for food and drink and 15pc more than our neighbours in Britain.