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Tensions Rising In French Tuna Price Battle Between Canners And Retailers France, January 25, 13

French tuna canners are urging retailers to raise the retail price of their products, and if the demands aren’t met, they will be less likely to invest in sustainable fishing due to lower profits, says Pierre Commere, director of Adepale, the country’s association of processors.

Pierre Commere, Adepale’s director
The canners have been dealing with higher raw material prices over the past 18 months, while the selling price of the finished product in France has barely budged. The prices of raw yellowfin and skipjack tuna have risen by 41% and 74% respectively, while canned tuna is retailing for EUR 8.30 per kilo, an increase of only EUR 0.20 from 2009.
Besides the surge in raw material prices, which represent about 45-65% of the finished product, steel and vegetable oil prices have also increased globally, according to FIAC Poissons, the fish division of the French canners association.
Over the past two years, the canners managed to pass on “only between 20-40% of the increase that they would have needed to maintain their profitability,” says Commere.
If the retail prices are not raised to reflect the higher production costs, “then profitability is lower and the capacity to invest in sustainable fishing production improvement is lower, and French canners will be in a more difficult situation,” says Commere.
In 2011, about 88% of French households bought canned tuna for a total of roughly 66,350 tons – making it the most popular canned fish product in France. It is purchased by consumers from all income levels and is popular especially in the spring and summer, according to FIAC.
Tuna was also the most produced canned fish item in 2011 in France, with French canners producing 115 million tuna cans or 20,700 tons.
With supermarkets battling to have the lowest prices possible for consumers, tensions are “high” during the annual negotiations, which have to be settled before Feb. 28, says Commere.