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Tesco and Unilever dispute means shops running low on popular brands

Tesco and Unilever dispute means shops running low on popular brands

Marmite and Pot Noodle were among the many products affected by a price dispute between Tesco and Unilever.

lovemoney staff

Household money

lovemoney staff
Updated on 13 October 2016

Tesco had stopped stocking dozens of Britain’s most popular brands following a price row with its biggest supplier Unilever.

Marmite, Pot Noodle and Hellmann’s mayonnaise are among the products currently unavailable for online purchase, while many stores are running low on stock.

It comes after Unilever reportedly demanded a 10% price rise from Tesco as a result of a weaker pound, which has plummeted against the euro and the dollar since June’s Brexit vote.

A weaker pound makes it more expensive to import goods.

However, the dispute has now been resolved.

"Unilever is pleased to confirm that the supply situation with Tesco in the UK and Ireland has now been successfully resolved," the company said.

"We have been working together closely to reach this resolution and ensure our much-loved brands are once again fully available. For all those that missed us, thanks for all the love."

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Screengrab of the Tesco website (Image: Tesco)

Unilever heavily criticised

Tesco reportedly refused to meet Unilever’s demands, although it remains unclear which company took the decision to stop trading.

However, it is Unilever that has come in for widespread criticism.

The hashtag #Marmitegate was trending on Twitter, with many accusing the Anglo-Dutch manufacturer of trying to exploit the Brexit vote for more profit.

Others pointed out that Marmite is actually produced in the UK, although obviously Unilever supplies Tesco with many other brands so that's just part of the argument.

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Does Unilever have a point?

While Unilever isn’t saying much, it’s worth noting that chief executive Paul Polman warned earlier this year that a Brexit vote would “negatively impact” the company.

Speaking in the build-up to June’s referendum, Polman said: “We therefore hope that in the interests of Unilever, the UK, Europe, and indeed the wider global economy, the UK will choose to remain and thereby continue to play a central role in Unilever's long-term growth and prosperity.”

As mentioned earlier, the main point of contention is the weakened pound. It’s down more than 15% against both the euro and dollar.

The dispute has been given an added dimension by the fact that current Tesco boss Dave Lewis spent much of his career at Unilever.

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