Tesco defended its move not to charge customers higher prices for goods on its shelves.
"We're laser-focused on keeping the cost of the weekly shop in check, offering customers great value," a spokesperson for the supermarket chain said. "With household budgets under increasing pressure, now more than ever we have a responsibility to ensure customers get the best possible value, and we will not pass on unjustifiable price increases to our customers."
"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."
A spokeswoman for pet food manufacturer Mars Petcare confirmed the shortages of its products at Tesco outlets. Mars Petcare – which owns the pet food brands Whiskas, Dreamies, Pedigree and Sheba – halted shipments of its products to the supermarket chain.
"We are aware that some of our pet care products are currently out of stock at Tesco stores. We want to reassure pet owners that their favorite products are in supply and remain widely available in the U.K. marketplace," she said. "There are many reasons why our products may be out of stock in certain stores from time to time, [and] we cannot comment on individual commercial relationships or situations."
Grocery Insight Director Steve Dresser highlighted the shortages in a social media post, noting that there will be no further stock until July 23 as per labels on store shelves.
Mars Petcare halting shipments of its products to Tesco followed The Kraft Heinz Company withholding shipments of baked beans and ketchup. The American food company refused to resupply Tesco shelves after the supermarket chain stood firm against planned price increases on certain food items.
According to the Guardian, Tesco sold Kraft Heinz products at a cheaper price than its competitors.
A 415-gram can of baked beans costs £1 ($1.20) in Tesco, compared to £1.20 ($1.43) in Asda and £1.19 ($1.42) in Morrisons. Tesco also sells a 910-gram bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup at £3.15 ($3.76), compared to £3.49 ($4.17) at Morrisons and £3.50 ($4.18) at other supermarkets.
"We are working closely with Tesco to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. In today's challenging economic environment – with commodity and production costs rising – many consumers are working within tight budgets," said the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based food company.
"We always look at how we can provide value through price, size and packs so consumers can enjoy the products they love and trust at a price point that works within their budgets, without compromising on quality. We are confident of a positive resolution with Tesco."
Back in October 2021, Kraft Heinz CEO Miguel Patricio remarked that consumers must get used to higher food prices. He told the BBC in an interview at the time that Kraft Heinz is "raising prices, where necessary, around the world." (Related: Kraft Heinz CEO says people must get used to higher food prices.)
Patricio remarked that inflation is up "across the board," with other factors contributing to the food price hikes. He added that the lack of truck drivers in the U.K. justified higher food prices. The Kraft Heinz executive also pointed to a substantial increase in logistics costs and a "shortage of labor in certain areas of the economy" as a justification for raising food prices in the United States.
"I think it's up to us, the industry and the other companies to try to minimize these price increases," Patricio concluded.
Watch this video that talks about shortages of students' lunch items in groceries.
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