The anger does not abate among the farmers and bakers. The entire wheat industry was outraged on Wednesday January 12 at the launch by the Leclerc group of a baguette at 29 euro cents. Michel-Edouard Leclerc, boss of the group, announced on Tuesday that he was blocking the price of the baguette in his stores at this price – even up to 23 cents – for at least four months, in the name of the defense of power purchasing by the French in an inflationary context.
An act considered as a declaration of war by the entire wheat industry. The day after this announcement, grain producers, millers and bakers, as well as the FNSEA, the leading agricultural union, denounced in a joint press release. “Prices that deliberately destroy values”. They are indignant at an announcement “Demagogic” whereas “The prices of cereals and consequently of flour are experiencing high prices, that production costs (wages, etc.) are rising sharply and that the average price of the baguette in France, in 2021 according to INSEE, is 0.90 euro “.
“Demagoguery” and “populism”
This announcement, which occurs at a time when the sectors and the government “Work to fairly remunerate farmers” and or “The know-how and the quality of the French baguette are in the process of being recognized by Unesco”, caused an uproar.
“Michel-Edouard Leclerc makes demagogy and populism, as he is used to. He sells at a loss, crushes the work of his own employees, despises the bakers who get up at 3 or 4 in the morning every night to bake good bread and gives a very bad signal of destruction of value “, added Thursday, January 13 Christiane Lambert, president of the FNSEA, at the microphone of BFM-TV.
🎙 “With the baguette at 29 cents, M.-É. Leclerc bleeds French agriculture. He is responsible for… https://t.co/5i7vnOscjK
“It also reveals itself, because when he sells his baguette for 60 or 70 cents, he makes a considerable margin. He will have to be held to account. What products will he compensate for? Milk, eggs, stationery? Who is going to drink when he has done his show? And where does the flour come from? How can he get that price? “, asked the leader of the majority farmers’ union.
“Preserving employment and quality”
“We are trying to preserve jobs and quality, that comes at a cost: we have to pay the actors correctly, those who plant, who harvest, who assemble the grains and make the flour, and those who make the bread. What Leclerc is doing is shameful ”Jean-François Loiseau, president of the National Association of French Milling, told Agence France-Presse on Wednesday.
While wheat prices have increased by about 30% in one year, Mr. Loiseau also wonders “Where the Leclerc group buys its flour” and “On which products it will compensate”. In addition, Leclerc “Break the prices” in the particularly tense context of the annual negotiations between producers and distributors, underline the actors of the sector.
Michel-Edouard Leclerc did not hide it: “Flour suppliers have often cited the rise in the price of wheat to demand considerable increases”, he said Tuesday on BFM-TV, defending his choice on a ” flagship product “, “Inflation marker”, as it had done for fuel a few months ago.