The Food Chain Observatory has summoned all the links to a meeting at 11:00 a.m. this Monday at the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to address the months of historic increases in the prices of the shopping basket, that have been slightly contained in January, and that have turned it into a media and political focus.
The Food Chain Observatory is a collegiate body attached to the General Directorate of the Food Industry created under the Law to improve the functioning of the food chain, which was discovered in 2013. At the risk of this regulation, it was born by real decree in 2015 this observatory, whose plenary session is chaired by the general director of the Food Industry, a position held by José Miguel Herrero.
The vice-presidency falls to the General Directorate of Trade Policy of the Ministry of Industry, which is held by Juan Francisco Martínez. In addition, there are up to forty voices, representing public administrations such as the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Consumption, the National Institute of Statistics and the Autonomous Communities of Galicia, La Rioja, the Community of Madrid, the Region of Murcia and the Foral Community of Navarra. .
Bring together various Professional and Sectoral Organizations in the agri-food and fishing field. Thus, the agricultural organizations Asaja, COAG and UPA are represented in the primary sector; the Agrifood Cooperatives of Spain and the National Federation of Fishermen’s Guilds. The transformation sector is part of the Spanish Federation of Food and Beverage Industries (FIAB) and the meat (Anice) oil (Anierac), brewers, Brand Products (Promarca) sectors.
They are also called the CCOO and UGT industry federations. And, on behalf of commercial distribution, the Spanish Confederation of Commerce (CEC), the employers’ associations ACES – which brings together El Corte Inglés and Carrefour, among others; Anged and Asedas, which represent large chains such as Mercadona, DIA or Lidl. Likewise, the National Confederation of Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Companies of Spain (Coemfe) and the National Federation of Retail Entrepreneurs of Fish and Frozen Products (Fedepesca) are represented in this plenary session.
On the consumer side, the Spanish Confederation of Consumer and User Cooperatives (Hispacoop) and the National Civic Union of Consumers and Housewives (Unae) are part of this forum. As confirmed by sources from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, spokespersons from other chain organizations such as Cepesca or the Interalimentary Forum have also been invited.
The context: the drop in VAT and its effect
Last Wednesday the official data on food inflation shed some hope by dropping three tenths in the first month in which the VAT reduction on basic foods -previously taxed at 4%- and reducing oils and pastas has been in force. from 10 to 5%. Even so, making the purchase is more than 15% more expensive than a year ago due, as all the links in the chain have reiterated ad nauseam, to an increase in their costs – as well as energy and raw materials – aggravated by the effects of the war in ukraine.
The oxygen balloon of the CPI for January has been valued by the sector, which has assumed it as endorsement of a measure that had been demanding months, and by members of the Government such as the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, the vice president of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, and even the head of the Executive in plenary session of Congress.
Lower VAT on meat and fish or discount purchases
Beyond the welcome containment of the CPI for food in January, there are voices even within the Executive that consider that it is necessary to go even further to reduce the impact of this price increase, especially among the most vulnerable families, which also from this week request the check of 200 euros.
Podemos, which already pointed out in September the possibility of reaching an agreement to put a cap on the shopping cart and months later advocated incorporating a special tax on the profits of large-scale distribution, has proposed a new solution: establishing bonuses in line of those that were adopted months ago with the fuels that would be made effective when paying at the cash desk and that would appear on the ticket.
A part of consumers, and even the sector, have considered that, once it has been shown that lowering VAT is transferred to the price, as confirmed by the CPI for January, it would be appropriate to establish discounts on other foods. Meat, fish and preserves -which currently continue to be taxed at 10% VAT- are in the spotlight of the sector and that of the political opposition, especially the Popular Party, which has insistently demanded its reduction.