#Marmitegate is gripping the nation, after a pricing row between one of the world’s largest consumer goods manufacturers and Tesco has left the supermarket low on household items – including, yep, Marmite.
Unilever has been accused of “exploiting consumers” amid the falling value of the pound. It’s believed to have demanded a 10% price rise, halting deliveries to Tesco when it refused.
Shoppers trying to buy items from Tesco’s website on Wednesday were met with the message: “Sorry, this product is currently not available”.
People on Twitter are rightly worried… and have taken to calling it #Marmitegate. Whether you love Marmite, or you hate it, it’s a tough day out there, everybody.
You might want to take a moment to prepare yourselves, because the stand-off has left the supermarket facing a shortage of other famous brands that we all know and love, including Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Pot Noodle and (honestly, brace yourselves) Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.
Why couldn’t Cookie Dough at least have been spared?! *cries*
Mind you, the move is understood to have hit online sales rather than products in store. So if you head to your local Tesco you might still be in luck – and it seems people could be panic-buying items at risk already…
It’s thought a number of supermarkets are embroiled in the row with Unilever. Earlier this year they posted profits of around £2 billion for the first half of 2016.
Unilever refused to comment on the dispute. But chief executive Paul Polman warned in June that a vote to leave the EU’s single market would increase prices for consumers.
He told Channel 4 that a vote to Leave would mean hikes in import duties on items such as dairy products, leading to price rises that would affect consumers.
Citing the example of Wall’s Magnum ice cream, Polman warned about trade restrictions, saying: “Undoubtedly if the UK were to Leave, the conditions will not be as good as if they stay in.”
But MPs condemned Unilever, saying the company was using Brexit as an excuse to exploit consumers, and warned it may be damaging its brand.
Conservative MP Sir Gerald Howarth told the Daily Telegraph: “I think it will be very damaging to the reputation of Unilever if they seek to use the fall in the pound to exploit the consumer.”
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron blamed the Government, saying: “The chaos around Brexit is now hitting our supermarket shelves. This shows the Government don’t have a plan or even a clue.”
A Tesco spokesman said: “We are currently experiencing availability issues on a number of Unilever products. We hope to have this issue resolved soon.”