Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credit: Xose Bouzas / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP 10:38 am, June 09, 2023

Faced with the surge of products in supermarkets due to inflation, many prices should fall as early as July according to the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire. The big industrialists who do not respect this request of Bercy will be "sanctioned".

The 75 major agri-food manufacturers have committed to Bercy to lower on the shelves, from July, the prices of hundreds of products affected by the surge in inflation, announced Friday the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire. "I tell the French that from July, on a certain number of references and products, prices will fall. And we will check it, and we will punish those who do not play the game," he said on BFM TV/RMC.

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"This is what the industrialists are committed to" at a meeting Thursday in Bercy, he added, stressing that this initiative targeted "several hundred everyday consumer products" whose list will be sent to him "next week". Among the products concerned, Bruno Le Maire cited pasta, poultry, cereals or oils, namely those whose "prices on the wholesale markets are falling".

"When wholesale prices go down, ... It sometimes takes three months, four months, five months before the price of the products concerned (...) also falls," he explained. Manufacturers have therefore accepted "an early indexation" without which the fall in wholesale prices would have been passed on only "around September, October, or even a little later".

Consumer prices rose by 5.1% in May year-on-year, but food prices still rose by 14.1%. Major food manufacturers, such as Coca-Cola, L'Oréal, Mondelez or Nestlé, have also committed to reopen trade negotiations with supermarkets on contracts concluded for 2023, according to the minister. The government had again put pressure this week on manufacturers who were reluctant to renegotiate in order to quickly lower prices on the shelves.

Bruno Le Maire had waved the threat of a publication, "before the end of June", of the names of those who would not play the game. "The economy minister does not have a ruler in his hands with which he could lower or raise prices. On the other hand, it has the power to injunction manufacturers and distributors to tell them 'you get together, you find agreements and you lower prices'. That's what we got to yesterday," he said.