A fierce war is raging in German supermarkets: Mars has completely stopped deliveries to Rewe and Edeka due to disagreements over prices. The retailers’ response on social media is not too diplomatic either.
The food multinational has stopped supplying two major supermarket chains in Germany: Rewe (which includes discount chain Penny) and Edeka (with discounter Netto). The scale of the boycott action is unprecedented: it does not just involve a few references, but the entire range of 300 products from brands such as M&Ms, Whiskas, Ben’s Original and Miracoli. The reason is obvious: retailers do not want to agree to the price increases the brand manufacturer wants to implement.
Mars would not comment to German media about the supply halt, but CEO Carsten Simon of Mars’ confectionery division did tell trade magazine Lebensmittel Zeitung that the company “urgently needs a second price increase this year” due to cost increases. He also criticised German retailers’ hardline approach. Nowhere else, he said, are there such fierce disputes.
“Food must not become a luxury good”
Obviously, the retailers highlight a different point of view. Announcing price increases of 10 % and then saying that Rewe should just pass them on to the customer is totally unrealistic, chief Lionel Souque said. “When you hear a supplier telling us that he wants 30 % more in Germany, and that he wants just 5 % more for the same item in France, I wonder where the logic is.” Edeka also warns suppliers against excessive price demands. “Food must not become a luxury good”, CEO Markus Mosa said.
On social media, retailers are playing to public opinion. Discounter Netto posted on its Instagram account: “Manufacturer Mars demands an unreasonable price increase. We at Netto fight for you and offer you an alternative with our own private label that is at least 64 % cheaper, but tastes 100 % as good.” Incidentally, the conflict is not unique to the German market: currently, Coca-Cola and Edeka are even fighting a price dispute in court.