Some of the changes included in the “loi alimentaton” (food industry bill) can definitely be considered a good thing for health conscious consumers while others could be bad news for price conscious shoppers.
France's Agriculture Minister Stéphane Travert said the new bill, which must pass parliament, will “strike a balance between commercial relations in the agricultural and food sector and a healthy and sustainable food industry.”
Here are some of the main changes that are set to directly affect French consumer.
Organic products in schools
By 2022, meals provided by catering companies in public places such as schools, universities and canteens will have to have been made with at least 50 percent organic products or ones that take into account the preservation of the environment.
This has long been the intention of successive governments in France but according to Europe1 radio little progress has been made.
Obligations for private catering companies to fight against food waste will also be extended.
No more “steak” vegetarian products
Manufacturers of soybean steaks or tofu steaks will be given a deadline to repackage their products because their names are deemed erroneous by the government which wants to ban misleading commercial practices.
Under the measure proposed by a farmer MP, food producers will no longer have the right to use “steak”, “fillet”, “bacon”, “sausage” or any other meaty term to describe products that are not partly or wholly composed of meat.
Label French Honey
Apparently only a quarter of the honey consumed in France is produced on French territory and the government wants for the country of origin of each honey to be clearly shown on the label.
Their hope is that it encourages French honey lovers to buy 'Made in France' honey which would benefit local producers.
Stop the price wars
In an effort to stop a price war that is “destroying value and impoverishing producers,” the government has announced that it will be reshaping the way discounts on food products are organized (Hopefully better than the recent Nutella ones that ended in riots and fisticuffs).
In other words there will no more mass-discount promotions.
For instance, there will be no more “buy one get one free” type offers, and no more half price or even 70% off promotions either.
“Today, it is the distributors who pull in most of the value of products and who gain from the margins,” said the Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Travert, suggesting that the promotions penalize the producers.
In addition, the government will introduce a higher resale threshold for wholesale distribution at a loss of 10 percent, meaning supermarkets will be obliged to sell a food product for the minimum of the price they bought it, plus 10 percent.
Opponents fear this will mean a price increase for consumers, but this idea was dismissed by Stéphane Travert, Minister of Agriculture, who says that the consumer is “ready to pay a few cents extra if he/she knows that the product bought will pay farmers better.”