Some food manufacturers are taking advantage of high inflation by charging far higher prices for their products than necessary. Several supermarket chains express this accusation. “It could lead to a boycott.”
Dutch supermarkets prefer not to mention the names of suppliers with which they are currently in conflict about the new prices of their A-brands. These negotiations are tough, because increased raw material prices and higher production and transport costs mean that suppliers cannot avoid asking higher prices. But according to the supermarkets, some producers are deliberately throwing an extra shovel on top.
,,I’m sure they are trying to capture extra margin, some prices are significantly higher than what the market and inflation level indicate. We can keep a close eye on those prices and percentages, so we can also see when it is not right in our view. Then we get an increase that is not realistic and certainly not desirable. We can process part of it ourselves, but it will stop at some point. We cannot pass this on to our customers,” says Ton van Veen, financial chief of Jumbo.
According to Van Veen, the high prices can even lead to a boycott of certain A-brands. “Due to the confidentiality of the negotiations, I cannot name names, but if we can’t reach an agreement, it may indeed be the case that we temporarily do not sell a number of brands.”
If we can’t figure it out, it may indeed be the case that we temporarily don’t sell a number of brands
No Nutella in Belgian supermarket
In Belgium it has already happened. In recent weeks, there has been a clash between the Belgian supermarket chain Colruyt and food giants Ferrero and Mondelez. Dozens of products from their Nutella, Milka and Lu brands disappeared from the shelves.
Whether it will come to that in our country remains to be seen. In any case, the negotiation game is played (even) harder, since supermarkets want to raise their prices to the customer as little as possible for competitive reasons. Several supermarkets that are affiliated with purchasing organization Superunie also indicate that some producers charge a very high price. At Superunie itself, they don’t want to say anything. “We never express ourselves externally about individual conversations with our suppliers.”
Market leader Albert Heijn says through a spokeswoman that they notice that larger suppliers of A-brands do indeed want to implement additional price increases this year. “We understand that in some situations price increases are inevitable because of inflation. But precisely to prevent inflation from rising further, we want to avoid additional price increases on top of that as much as possible.”
Unilever, producer of hundreds of well-known brands such as Dove, Conimex and Calvé, previously announced that it had to raise prices to cover the costs. The company does not want to comment on the current negotiations with the supermarkets.
Last year, the average grocery price increased by 3.8 percent compared to 2020.
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