France’s minimum food prices laws come into effect aimed at raising farmers’ incomes
France’s agriculture minister sought to reassure households that food shopping bills would not jump dramatically as a rise in minimum food prices aimed at raising farmers’ incomes came into effect on Friday.
The government had postponed introducing the measure in December as France reeled from nationwide unrest and sometimes violent “yellow vest” protests over high living costs and the squeeze felt on household budgets.
Didier Guillaume said prices would increase on only 5 percent of products sold in supermarkets, including the chocolate spread Nutella, Coca-Cola and granola - items retailers often sell at a discount to draw consumers in.
The “field-to-fork” bill was a campaign promise of President Emmanuel Macron to win support among farmers, an important voter constituency in France, who have long complained of being hit by low margins and ending up the victims of retail price wars.
“Households will only end up paying more if their trolley is full of Nutella and Coca-cola. The price of loss-leader goods will increase, while the price of meat, fish, cheese, vegetables will not,” Guillaume told CNews.
The new legislation includes a 10 percent increase in the price floor for food products and curbs promotional offers so that retailers cannot discount products by more than 34 percent of their value.
Guillaume said the average household shopping bill would increase by just 50 cents to 3 euros a month.
Supermarket retailers like Carrefour, Casino and privately-held Leclerc typically made a margin of 30-40 percent on farmers’ products, the minister said, adding: “I ask them to stop doing that.”