French food groups agree to renegotiate prices – minister

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PARIS, May 17 (Reuters) – France’s food industry has agreed to reopen price negotiations with retailers early, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Wednesday after he put pressure on big food companies to lower prices.

“This is excellent news for consumers, it means that prices are going to be renegotiated lower early, so we will be able to break the inflationary spiral,” Le Maire told journalists after meeting with food industry representatives.

Despite declines in prices of raw materials on global markets, French food inflation has surged over 15% in recent months after food companies and retailers agreed to an average 10% increase in annual price negotiations in March.

Last week Le Maire threatened to use tax measures to claw back what he described as undue profits from the food industry if it did not accept talks on high prices.

Le Maire said on Wednesday that negotiations would take place before the end of the month, which meant that consumers for example could see lower prices for pasta as soon as this summer in light of the falling price of wheat.

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