Tesco, Unilever settle price row


Jars of Marmite were "currently not available" in the online store of Tesco, the world's third biggest supermarket chain said after reportedly refusing Unilever's request to hike prices by 10 percent.

That fight appeared to spread to supermarket shelves.

Supermarket chain Asda said it too had successfully negotiated with Unilever.

The standoff dominated the news in Britain on Thursday, with "Marmitegate" trending on Twitter and "Marmite Wars" splashed on the front pages.

Bruno Monteyne, an analyst at Bernstein Research, said the publicity around the spat was probably helpful to both Tesco and Unilever as it would help explain probable price rises to shoppers.

Tesco put up a fearless resistance against its biggest supplier Unilever as the British-Dutch company announced it would be raising prices as a result of the weaker pound.

To see how the Brexit vote has so far affected the price of Unilever products, we compared the prices of some its everyday products between 23 June's Brexit vote and 13 October 2016, to see how they've changed at Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

In a nation divided over the effects of leaving the EU, Tesco may have won the battle for public opinion by raising the specter of shortages of Marmite - a pungent fixture of British larders that Unilever markets under the slogan "love it or hate it".

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"We always put our customers first and we are pleased this has been resolved to our satisfaction", a Tesco spokesperson said.

It remains unclear whether the dispute was directly linked to the weakening of the pound, or whether the two companies were trying to gain leverage in price negotiations.

OK, things aren't quite that dire (yet) following the Brexit vote earlier this year, but one of the biggest social media fallouts after the UK's vote to leave the European Union is this week's shelf-stable grocery items crisis-specifically supermarket chain Tesco's online shortage of Marmite, PG Tips tea, and Pot Noodles.

The sources said two of the big four were still weighing whether to accept the rises or scrap some products.

"We are confident that this situation will be resolved pretty quickly", he said.

Unilever has declined to comment on the specifics of the row but its Chief Financial Officer Graeme Pitkethly said on Thursday that price increases were the normal response to a devaluation, adding that the scope of the increases was "substantially less" than what was needed to cover the hit.

A previous dispute between the company and Tesco, has been resolved.

Retailers face rising costs of goods and materials from the plunging value of the pound since the Brexit vote, but are under pressure to keep prices low in an intensely competitive market. The grocers have for years been locked in a brutal price war and their margins are razor thin.