“The prices of food distributors could increase by 8.2%, which would generate an increase in annual food expenditure of 224 euros per person this year, for a total reaching 2,963 euros”, details Aurélien Duthoit, sector adviser at Allianz Trade.
Compared to the rest of the Old Continent, the French would not be the worst off, however: the average increase in the food budget within the European Union would thus appear at 243 euros, and the Germans would even pay an additional 254 euros in 2022.
A differential which is explained among other things by a “very concentrated market structure in France, which gives a significant financial surface to distributors and allows them to absorb part of the increase in purchasing costs”, deciphers Aurélien Duthoit with the AFP.
“The synergies achieved by the groups at the level of their purchasing centers” also make it possible to circumscribe the impact of the increase in production costs on selling prices, he adds.
Estimates of increases in the food budget in 2022 are based on the assumption that distributors pass on to their selling prices 75% of the increase in prices they pay to manufacturers in the agri-food sector.
However, at present, less than half of this increase in production prices has been passed on to consumers.
Indeed, “industrialists in the European agri-food sector have increased their prices by 14% since the start of 2021”, where “food distributors, on the other hand, have only increased their prices by 6%”, specifies Aurelien Duthoit.
– Vital needs –
According to the credit insurer, the pace at which selling prices will align with production prices remains “very uncertain, given the volatility of the current economic environment” marked in particular by the war between Russia and Ukraine.
The conflict, which opposes two major agricultural powers, has already had very concrete consequences on prices: manufacturers are thus charging oils and fats 53% more expensive than in 2021.
The cost of flour for distributors jumped by 28%, and that of pasta by 19%.
According to the latest INSEE data, inflation increased by 4.8% over one year in April and food prices by 3.8%.
And the rise is not about to stop according to Allianz Trade, since distributors, emerging from two years of pandemic “very profitable in terms of their turnover as well as their profit”, do not need to maintain costs only costs their sales volumes by lowering prices.
Moreover, the strategies for defining selling prices are becoming more and more refined thanks to the evolution of technology.
The discounts granted by distributors therefore tend to be much more selective than in the past, since they are adapted to each store and even to each consumer.
“For some, rising food prices will only weigh on their ability to save; for others, it could further threaten their ability to meet their basic needs,” concludes Allianz Trade.
A warning launched while the government is preparing for the end of June an amending budget which should notably lead to the distribution of a food check.