Heinz products, including the ketchup and baked beans that have become such a staple in British homes, are disappearing from Tesco‘s shelves. Due to a price dispute, there are currently no deliveries.
“No unjustified price increases”
The (price) war is on between Tesco and Heinz. The British supermarket chain refuses to accept the American producer’s latest price increases, which is why the ketchup manufacturer has halted deliveries. As a result, an increasing number of Tesco supermarkets are no longer able to offer ketchup, beans in sauce or soup made by Heinz. Yet these products are staples in many a British household, and Heinz is the undisputed market leader.
However, as the UK’s leading food retailer, Tesco will not tolerate this unilateral price increase, even from a giant like Heinz. “We will not pass on unjustified price increases to our customers,” a spokesperson for the supermarket chain told BBC News. “We’re sorry that this means some products aren’t available right now, but we have plenty of alternatives to choose from and we hope to have this issue resolved soon.”
Soup up to 40% more expensive
In the current climate of high inflation and soaring food prices, Tesco believes it “now more than ever” has “a responsibility to ensure customers get the best possible value”. In other supermarkets, prices of Heinz products have risen by up to 40% in recent weeks, The Grocer calculated. More and more British consumers are trying to save money by capping their spending, and Britons are on average also going less to the supermarket.
Heinz defends itself by saying that production costs have increased. The company says it is constantly looking for ways to offer products to suit everyone’s budget, by varying price, size and packs. The ketchup maker is confident that a positive solution will soon be found with Tesco.
Manufacturers stand firm
It is far from the first time this year that a conflict has arisen between brand manufacturers and retailers. Earlier this year, a dispute arose between Belgian Colruyt Group and manufacturers Nestlé and Ferrero, with Nutella briefly disappearing from the shelves. In France, Jacobs Douwe Egberts stopped deliveries to Intermarché and Colgate Palmolive also had a dispute with Tesco.
Disputes usually don’t last long, however, as costs are on the rise and there is “no other choice” but to share them, as Kellogg said earlier. Manufacturers are currently negotiating from a position of strength with supermarkets, we analysed, and are also not afraid to halt deliveries if necessary. It remains to be seen how long it will be before Britons get their baked beans back, and at what price.