There is still no solution in the dispute between purchasing group Agecore and brand manufacturer Mars. More products will become unavailable at Colruyt and other members. Elsewhere in Europe, new conflicts are brewing.
Since early December, the members of Agecore have been boycotting Mars, manufacturer of M&M's, Pedigree, Uncle Ben's and Whiskas. The food retailers' demand is for the multinational to lower its purchasing prices. At first, Colruyt mostly removed pet foods from their stores, but now the conflict seems to be entering a new phase. Ever more well-known candy products are being labelled as 'temporarily unavailable', such as the miniature versions of Bounty, Mars and Snickers. Uncle Ben's supplies are also shrinking.
It is likely that the stocks in the distribution centres will be exhausted now that no more orders are being placed. It's possible that Agecore will even be increasing the pressure. Initially, it seemed like German chain Edeka was leading the boycott, but now Swiss media have been reporting that the conflict has led to empty shelves at supermarket chain Coop as well. Besides Colruyt, Coop and Edeka, the purchasing alliance also represents Conad (Italy), Eroski (Spain) and Intermarché (France). Together, these members represent 140 billion euros of turnover. In December, Agecore also targeted Heineken and Red Bull, but those disputes have now been resolved.
Meanwhile, tensions are mounting elsewhere in Europe. Eurelec, the purchasing alliance of French E.Leclerc and German Rewe, is asserting itself against (amongst others) hygiene group Essity, manufacturer of brands such as Demak'up, Lotus, Okay, Tempo, Tena and Tork. Products are disappearing from the shelves in Germany. Our colleagues over at the Lebensmittel Zeitung write that more brand manufacturers are being targeted.