Leclerc supermarkets across France have started to remove six lines, including la Vache Qui Rit cheese, amid claims from the company’s chief executive that food manufacturers are profiting from rising costs.

The lines, which also include Brossards chocolate chip brownies, have been pulled from shelves today (1 February) as part of a dispute between Michel-Edouard Leclerc and brand-owners he believes have pushed up prices above the rate of commodity cost inflation.

Leclerc has refused to even open negotiations on the six lines, for which the list prices have risen by up to 20%

Manufacturers’ list prices are the same for all retailers in France: the current negotiations cover the volumes and discounts that will be applied to each SKU for the retailer concerned.

Leclerc has turned up the pressure in the current round of supplier negotiations, which are required to finish on 1 March, by threatening to remove a further 100 SKUs.

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Jean-Rene Buisson, president of the national food manufacturers’ association ANIA, responded by saying that the manufacturers concerned could take legal action.

However, manufacturers are unlikely to want to scupper ongoing talks for the rest of the range to salvage a single SKU in one retailer.