Supermarket giant Tesco has stopped selling some of Britain’s most famous brands in a massive dispute with its biggest supplier, Unilever, over rising costs due to the fallout from Brexit, according to various media reports.
Unilever supplies Tesco with Marmite, PG Tips tea, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and Pot Noodles. Tesco has stopped stocking these online and is not restocking the goods in stores.
Tesco said in an emailed statement: “We are experiencing availability issues on a number of Unilever products. We always work to ensure customers get the best possible prices and we hope to have this issue resolved soon.”
Unilever has not provided a comment to the press and was not immediately available when Business Insider contacted the group.
This is what it looks like at Tesco.com when you search for Unilever products:
Both have specifically stipulated that the fall in sterling caused by the UK’s vote to leave the European Union on June 23 is to blame for the dispute. An unnamed source told The Guardian: “Unilever is using Brexit as an excuse to raise prices, even on products that are made in the UK.”
Lord Haskins, the former head of rival firm Northern Foods, told BBC’s Newsnight programme that the dispute is over rising costs due to the crash in the pound. “Undoubtedly what Unilever is doing is justified in terms of the economics of it, but Tesco’s worried that Aldi may not follow suit,” he said.
“They will have to follow suit, because the costs as a result of devaluation are too big for any company to carry. The moment the great British public realises that there’s a real cost to pay for Brexit, then the government will have to take account of that.”
Sky News says that sources said that “other supermarket chains have also expressed concerns about Unilever’s stance.”
Sterling has crashed to 31-year lows against the euro and the dollar since Britons voted for Brexit. In September, the Bank of England warned that supermarkets and other food retailers are “re-engineering” products to counter the rising cost of imports in the wake of Brexit and warned that Brexit will have a huge impact on the food sector.