Companies specializing in fruit processing are facing a sharp increase in production costs.
Traditionally more affordable, processed fruits (jams, compotes, jars, etc.) no longer escape inflation. According to the latest INSEE survey, their average price had, at the end of April, increased by 5.9% over one year. In question, the costs of supply and production faced by companies in this sector of activity. They have been steadily climbing for several months.
As a result of frost episodes in the spring of 2021, they had to pay more for peaches, cherries, apricots or plums from the last season. Increases all the more justified as farmers also have to deal with soaring costs, especially fertilizer. But the raw material is not the only cause. Fruits and sugars represent only 30 to 40% of the cost of the finished product. We must also take into account the surge in energy, to run factories and fill the tanks of delivery trucks, as well as the soaring prices for packaging.
“The prices of metal cans have increased by 52%”, underlined last Tuesday Roger Descours, president of the Fruits group of the French Federation of canned food industries (Fiac), during a press conference. The annual commercial negotiations with large retailers ended in March with a price increase. Insufficient, ensures the sector.
Very uncertain situation
Saint-Mamet, a specialist in jarred fruits, starts production in July, when the summer fruits are harvested. When the price increases requested in the context of the annual negotiations were sent to large retailers, in November 2021, “we did not yet know how much we were going to pay for the metal boxes”, and the latter were not taken into account. , explained his boss, Stéphane Lehoux. However, in the meantime, the price of the metal has reached peaks. “We have chosen to reopen trade negotiations,” he said.
As for Andrésy Confitures, it is estimated that an additional 4 to 8% increase in prices in stores would have to be passed to keep the sector going. Especially since the situation is very uncertain and volatile. “We will have to negotiate prices every quarter”, in the face of galloping inflation, said Bruno Cassan, head of the Yvelines family SME, who said he discussed “every week” with his suppliers. “It’s not just a question of money, it’s also a question of flexibility,” added the marketing director of Charles & Alice compotes, Anne-Laure Jardin.
Last season, when very few French apricots were harvested, the company was forced to redo its relevant packaging to remove the French origin and thus be able to continue to sell its preparations based on apricots from elsewhere. With the last episodes of frost, and the drought announced for the summer, the question could arise again this year.
These giants of the food industry that the compote makes salivate
Saint-Mamet is about to change hands. Owner since 2018 of the canned fruit specialist, the Hivest Capital Partners fund has entered into exclusive negotiations with Agromousquetaires, the agri-food division of the Les Mousquetaires (Intermarché) group, to sell it the shares it holds, the two companies announced in a press release last April. This proposed acquisition is nevertheless subject to authorization by the Competition Authority.
As for Pom’potes, it’s already done: the Bel cheese group recently finalized the takeover of the Mont Blanc Materne (MOM) group, which owns the Materne and Pom’potes brands. The owner of the Laughing Cow, Babybel and Kiri has acquired the 17.44% of shares that he still lacked to become a 100% shareholder – he had committed to this when he acquired the MOM group in 2016 This takeover is in line with the Bel group’s desire to diversify into the plant segment.
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