Lessons could be learned from a French initiative to address unbalanced relationships within the supply chain and enable farmers and growers to earn a sustainable income by improving the apportionment of value.
“Before it was the retailer who set the price and this was given to the food processor and then the producer,” Ms Poirot told the NFU Scotland conference.
“Now it is the producers association who sets the price and this is then communicated to the food processor and then the retailer.”
Legislation also protects retailers from losing margin on loss leaders, which in turn will allow them to take the hit of a smaller margin on agricultural products, and so benefiting producers’ pockets.
She used the example of popular chocolate spread Nutella which she said French consumers were ‘crazy about’.
Because of French consumers’ love for Nutella, retailers often heavily discount the product in order to attract new shoppers or sell additional products.
“The new law raises the minimum mark-up on food loss leaders to 10 per cent and places controls on promotional offers,” said Ms Poirot.
“It means if you are a retailer and you buy a product for 1 euro you must sell that product at a minimum of 1.10 euro."
The changes have also seen an end to ‘buy one, get one free’ promotions.
“A promotion could be: ‘buy two items and one is offered’,” added Ms Poirot.
“The term ‘free’ is forbidden, because food is not and will not ever be free.”