The French President hit out at retailers increasing margins as producer prices slumped

The French President hit out at retailers increasing margins as producer prices slumped

President Sarkozy this week brokered an agreement with France's largest retailers to exercise restraint on margins to support the country's produce sector. Meanwhile, one of France's food giants, Danone, announced its first foray into Australia - and sent a warning to the country's domestic dairy groups. Here is the best of who said what this week.

"This is simply not acceptable" - French President Nicolas Sarkozy highlights sectors where retail margins have increased as producer prices fall as he strikes a deal with the country's grocers.

"As we've already said, by our own high standards, our first-quarter sales were disappointing" - Andy Bond, chairman of Asda's executive committee, admits the UK retailer found early 2010 tough.

"It’s going to be a more challenging environment for grocery products and refrigerated foods" - Hormel Foods chairman and CEO Jeffrey Ettinger warns of the impact of higher hog prices on the US food group's business.

"The international industrial market for milk powder and cheese is the main driver behind the entire dairy market" - Arla Foods CEO Peder Tuborgh explains why the dairy giant was able to pay its farmers more.

"Recently dairy commodity prices have started to increase and this may put upward pressure on milk prices in coming months" - Dairy Crest chief executive Mark Allen, unveiling the UK dairy group's annual results, is seeing signs of an upturn in commodity prices.

"We will step up our expansion speed significantly this year" - Metro Group CEO Dr Eckhard Cordes sets out his stall for more overseas investment.

"This initiative is proof that we want to go beyond the role of distributor and become an actor in sustainable development" Metro Inc COO Robert Sawyer emphasises the Canadian retailer's commitment to sustainable seafood.

"It takes all sizes [of companies] to actually grow this industry and we’re talking about changing agriculture and you need all sizes to do this" - the Organic Trade Association's Barbara Haumann plays down any tension in the US organic sector between large and small food makers.

"We’re excited that it’s going mainstream and that it’s going to be able to reach that many more people - but we want to maintain very high standards and, unfortunately, with many corporations their obligation is to their shareholders and their bottom line, and so sometimes we worry that corners will be cut" - the Organic Consumers Association's Honor Schauland is concerned larger companies may compromise the sector's standards.

"Yes, the market is competitive but we have strong brands and we will build strong relationships with the supermarkets and consumers and respect the challenge of competing against the strong companies and brands in the fresh dairy market. Both Murray Goulburn and Danone have many years of experience in growing market share" - a Danone spokesperson sends a warning to dairy firms in Australia.