Carrefour leads French retailers in cutting prices on essential food items

A Carrefour supermarket in France.

France’s government has come to an agreement with French grocery firms that will see them lower their prices on essential food items.

On Monday, 6 March, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire made a joint appearance in Paris with executives from several of the country’s major supermarket chains announcing significant discounts on household items over a three-month period to help French citizens cope with surging inflation.

“This is a strong agreement that will be visible and protects our citizens,” Le Maire said. “Fighting inflation is everyone’s business.”

The government of French President Emmanuel Macron has been facing mounting public pressure to do more to combat inflation and resistance to a separate effort to overhaul France’s pension system. A proposal to cut France’s sales tax was dismissed by Le Maire, who said it would be too costly and ineffective in reducing prices.

Across the border, Spanish citizens have planned demonstrations to demand Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez take further action beyond a tax cut in January that included cutting the VAT on basic foodstuffs from 4 percent to zero, while offering a EUR 200 (USD 212) subsidy for families making less than EUR 27,000 (USD 28,700). 

France’s overall inflation is predicted to hit 13 percent through the first half of 2023, with food price inflation reaching 6 percent in January 2023. In Spain, food cost inflation has hit 15 percent, while the national inflation figure is hovering above 6 percent.

In response to inflation, one-third of Spanish households are reducing their consumption of fish and meat and many are shifting to cheaper canned and frozen products.

The French initiative was spawned out of Le Maire’s proposal for a so-called “anti-inflation basket” that would act as a harmonized index for French consumers to compare food prices. But after talks with retailers, the idea was dismissed. 

Items included in the new program will ... 

Photo courtesy of Alexandre Rotenberg/Shutterstock

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