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Saturday, February 9, 2019

France Targets Grocers With Awful New Food Law: New at Reason

By Reason Staff - February 09, 2019 at 08:20AM

France, it seems, has long been plagued by two towering evils. First, French farmers feel they're underpaid for the foods they produce and sell. These farmers find different ways to protest every year. In 2016, for example, French farmers protested lower milk and pork prices by dumping manure in roadways and blocking traffic.

Second, French consumers appear to believe that a sale on Nutella, the sugary-chocolaty-nutty spread, is reason enough to act like they're auditioning for a Black Friday sale fight in the United States or something slightly less traumatic—say, the grocery scene in Bird Box.

Enter a new French food law, cleverly dubbed Loi Alimentation ("food law"). The law, which debuted this week, is intended to help French farmers by increasing their margins without somehow also hurting the grocers who sell the foods they grow. This month, according to the European grocery site Retail Detail, the already "infamous" law is making some grocery food more expensive for consumers in the country. Calculations reported by Retail Detail suggest the price of many popular foods has risen on average by more than six percent, including more than eight percent for Nutella. That's because the law bans many food promotions—including, for example, steep discounts on Nutella—and effectively raises the minimum prices stores may charge for many popular foods.

If common sense and early returns are any indication, writes Baylen Linnekin, the law won't solve either problem. But it will create a whole host of new ones.

View this article.


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