Bakery: faced with the price of energy, artisans on the verge of bankruptcy

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On November 30, 2022, the baguette was listed as a UNESCO intangible heritage. Today, this emblem of French gastronomy could well be under threat. Over the past few months, the price of energy has drastically increased. If the whole of the French population could not ignore it, it is also the small traders who are today threatened by this brutal increase in their expenses.

Craftsmen like Frédéric Nicolle, a baker from Age, who spoke to Sud-Ouest about this situation. Indeed, the trader received, in December, an electricity bill for the amount of 62,313 euros.

“I was four days late, because I was waiting to be paid by the communities I supply. For these four days late, I am therefore sent a penalty note of the order of more than 62,000 euros”, he regrets.

But that’s not the only uptick he’s been experiencing. “The contract with my supplier came to an end at the end of the year. I had negotiated, in advance with a broker, a new price with this same supplier”, continues the craftsman.

Faced with its late payment, the supplier decided to cancel the negotiated price and the baker’s monthly bill will therefore drop from 3,000 to 10,266 euros. However, the latter has still decided not to increase his prices for the moment, but he fears that he will soon have no choice.

Frédéric is not the only craftsman to suffer from the inflation of energy and several of his colleagues confide that they too should soon increase prices. “We are going to increase by more than 30% here, that’s for sure and certain. It’s the minimum just to get back on our feet”, explains in particular Franck Giquel, baker in Cagnes-sur-Mer in the Alpes-Maritimes to our colleagues at franceinfo. He too had a bad surprise when he discovered that his bill had increased by 1,400 euros. This could even be multiplied by six with his new contract.

Thus, many bakers today are in a critical situation and are torn between raising their prices and the need to preserve their customers. Faced with this, Frédéric Nicolle is not very optimistic and estimates that “80% of bakeries are likely to close in January. And no one seems to care about that.”

Finally his debt of 62,000 euros was erased by his supplier. But the craftsman will still have to “advance them three months’ deposit as part of the next contract”, he reveals to our colleagues.