Selling fuel at cost price can only be temporary, the head of a French supermarket chain said on Tuesday, ahead of a meeting between the government and distributors that say the measure is economically untenable.

To help people cope with inflation, the French government initially considered allowing fuel to be sold at a loss, but revised its plan in the face of opposition from distributors.

Its revised call for fuel to be sold at cost - charging the end customer only for distribution costs and limiting profits - is the subject of talks later on Tuesday.

Dominique Schelcher, president of French supermarket chain Système U, told BFM and RMC broadcasters it planned to sell at cost price regularly and weekend promotions were planned.

Système U's next at-cost fuel price operation will be the first weekend of October, he said.

"It cannot be permanent," he said in the broadcast interviews.

Asked about President Emmanuel Macron's push for a "moderation of margins" in the food sector, the supermarket boss said he welcomed the reopening of negotiations between distributors and manufacturers.

"We need to go into the details of this announcement. I understand it is large manufacturers that need to moderate their margins because in the chain, we have the lowest," he said. (Writing by Forrest Crellin, reporting by Blandine Hénault, editing by Ingrid Melander and Barbara Lewis)