“We are asking for a price increase of 3 to 4% for 2024”, testifies Jean-Philippe André, non-executive president of the Haribo company in France. He does not fail to point out that certain brands have responded by delisting some of its candy ranges. Atmosphere… Like every year, the confrontation between manufacturers and distributors to set the prices of branded products for the year 2024 begins under tension. With its share of bluffs and intimidations.
But this year’s exercise is taking place in very special conditions. Consumers have seen food prices skyrocket, on shelves, by nearly 22% in two years. Anxious to calm this inflationary outbreak, the government has held numerous meetings with stakeholders in order to encourage them to reduce the bill. Finally, he decided to p a law to bring forward the dates of annual commercial negotiations hoping that they would result in price reductions which would then be ped on to the customer sooner. In this new outline, SMEs must have signed their contracts before January 15, 2024, and large companies whose turnover in France is greater than 350 million euros, before January 31. To do this, the former had to send their prices before November 21, and the latter have until December 5 to finalize their copy.
The first rounds of negotiations have therefore already begun. Sometimes brutally. “A buyer of a brand immediately asked us for a 30% reduction”, testifies a bakery industrialist who evokes buyers from m distribution, themselves under pressure, ready to strike. The opportunity taken by the National ociation of Food Industries (ANIA) to defend its positions and justify the requests for price increases from the members of this union. “Since the inflationary shock of 2021, we are constantly under everyone’s microscope. In the food market, everyone has guidelines, knows the price of a carton of milk or a packet of biscuits, while no one remembers the price of their insurance. Insurers will increase their prices by another 8% and this will happen without any problem”deplores Mr. André, president of ANIA, before announcing the color: “Food inflation is expected to be between 2 and 4% in 2024.”
“The Hypocrites’ Ball”
The agri-food industry therefore does not see an overall price drop in the offing. It justifies its requests for revaluation by erting that it is facing new increases in production costs, increasing wages and the challenges of decarbonization. But she knows that she will not escape the debate on her margins. Moreover, Foodwatch, Rural Families, UFC-Que Choisir and CLCV unveiled, Wednesday November 29, an open letter addressed to Emmanuel Macron and a petition to encourage the President of the Republic and the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire , “to take action, following their declarations on the margins”. The four organizations designate the margins of the food industry estimated at 48% by INSEE but also those of m distribution. “We are not saying that the INSEE figure of 48% is false. It is strictly fair but does not apply only to the scope of our agri-food industry. We want to carry out the transparency exercise but across the entire food industry”reacts Mr. André.
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