France wants farmers, not supermarkets, to set grocery prices

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By Duncan Hooper
A French supermarket
A French supermarket   -   Copyright  Reuters

The French government is considering new laws designed to balance the needs of farmers and those of retailers and consumers following fears that the country's producers are finding it impossible to earn their living because of downward pressure on prices. Here are some of the measures proposed by Stéphane Travert, the country's Agriculture Minister, who says he wants to restore the idea of a "fair price" which has been undermined by supermarket price wars.

  • Ban buy one, get one free - buy two, get one free would still be permitted.
  • Limit propotional price discounts to 25%.
  • Oblige retailers to sell food products for at least 10% more than they paid for them. Existing laws already forbid selling products at an overall loss.
  • Create an index of prices based on the costs of production plus a margin for farmers which would be the basis of the price paid by the supermarket to its suppliers. This would effectively inverse the current market logic where the buyer fixes the amount he or she is willing to pay.
  • Oblige restaurants to use at least 20% organic ingredients and 50% ingredients deemed of higher quality by 2022.