Alexandre Dalifard / Photo credit: Europe 1 18:22 p.m., September 13, 2023

While France remains affected by inflation, particularly on food products, negotiations between manufacturers and large retailers can be complex. For the occasion, Miloud Benaouada, president of Barilla/Harrys France and Western Europe, is the guest of Elisabeth Assayag in "La France bouge" to talk about it.

How to deal with inflation as an industrialist? This year, the France is experiencing a significant increase in prices, mainly on food products. In order to combat it and limit its effects, the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire received at the end of August the largest consumer industrialists in Bercy. After this meeting, an agreement was reached. "They have made a first commitment: prices will not increase or will fall" for 5,000 references, announced Bruno Le Maire on France 2.

For the occasion, Miloud Benaouada, president of Barilla/Harrys France and Western Europe, is the guest of the show La France bouge. At the microphone of Elisabeth Assayag, he evokes trade negotiations, where it is sometimes difficult to find common ground.

Defending this industry

Are negotiations bound to change? Are manufacturers required to negotiate more often during the year? "That's the reality. It's part of this kind of cacophony, to think that I don't answer my clients' phones and that we see each other once a year. Me, my clients, we see them once a month, we call each other every three days," insists Miloud Benaouada. But what can manufacturers and customers say? "That we must defend this industry and stop pointing fingers at us," he said at the microphone of Elisabeth Assayag.

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In the last negotiations, the Barilla/Harrys group managed to find common ground. At the end of August, on France 2, Bruno Le Maire had even quoted the pasta brand by stressing that it had lowered its prices and that it had "played the game". "We have a sequence of price easing on cereals, which we have passed on in our prices with consumers and customers," says the boss France Barilla.

A reverse balance of power

However, the balance of power is reversed in the negotiations. "I represent 0.35% of my clients' turnover. The smallest of my customers represents 20% of my turnover. The balance of power is therefore totally different," admits Miloud Benaouada. For him, it is therefore not possible to hear today that the agri-food industry imposes on mass distribution. "With 0.35% of anyone's turnover, do you really think I'm in a position today to impose anything on my customers?" he asks.

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Nevertheless, the president of Barilla France says that he is very proud of the job he does and the work his employees do. He even admits that the best period the company has known is the one experienced during the health crisis. "Because at that time, we worked together and we had a common interest which was to feed people. And that's the primary mission," he concludes at the microphone of Elisabeth Assayag.