The heavyweights of the distribution sector are expected in Paris on Thursday, May 11, the Ministry of the Economy said on Friday. Faced with the rise in food prices close to 15% over one year in April, Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy, wanted to discuss with distributors and the agri-food industry the possibility of extending, beyond June, price reductions on certain products in supermarkets.

This first meeting only concerns distributors. A second meeting, with the industrialists, this time, is planned “in a second time”, on a date which remains to be defined, according to Bercy.

In order to continue to protect the portfolio of the French, the government is considering a way to cushion the shock of food inflation beyond the first half. In March, he urged retailers to lower prices on selected products, for a period through June, as part of the “anti-inflation quarter”.

Noting that the cost of certain raw materials has been falling for several months, without this necessarily being reflected in supermarket prices, the executive also wants to push distributors and manufacturers to reopen trade negotiations, which ended on March 1 and which have led to an average increase of around 10% in the prices paid by supermarkets to their industrial suppliers.

Faced with rising food prices, “the State has taken its share, distributors too, consumers take it on a daily basis”, underlined, on Friday, Olivia Grégoire, the Minister Delegate for Trade. “We are now waiting for the manufacturers to take theirs” by reopening trade negotiations in order to lower prices, she insisted. The pressure seems to have weighed this time more heavily on the agri-food industry.

If they do not comply, Olivia Grégoire threatens to “cite by name in the public debate” the recalcitrant actors, or even to sanction them via “fiscal measures”.

“The government’s method is to say, ‘We’re looking at ways to extend the anti-inflation quarter’, ‘we’re appealing to accountability’… It’s a Care Bear method!” commented André Chassaigne, the Communist deputy, on Friday, during the debate in the Assembly.