(Bloomberg) -- Mars Inc. has stopped supplying two of its pet food brands to Tesco Plc as the supermarket chain enters a second row over price increases.
Britain’s biggest grocer is already locked in a dispute with Kraft Heinz Co., which has stopped supplying the supermarket with most of its products, including ketchup and baked beans. The disputes show the challenges facing both food manufacturers and grocers as Britain grapples with the worst inflation in four decades.
Tesco said it remained “laser-focused” on keeping food prices affordable at a time when UK households are under strain as energy and fuel bills soar. “We will not pass on unjustifiable price increases to our customers,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
It’s not the first time Tesco has tussled with suppliers over price increases. In 2016, the supermarket stopped some online sales of items made by Unilever Plc after the manufacturer tried to raise prices in a battle dubbed “Marmitegate.”
Mars’ chocolate and confectionery products will remain on shelves as usual, a Tesco spokesperson told Bloomberg. But customers looking to feed their pets with Whiskas or Pedigree are likely to be forced to shop elsewhere.
Mars refused to comment on the circumstances surrounding the supply row, but told customers that they can find Whiskas and Pedigree in other stores. “We want to reassure pet owners that their favorite products are in supply and remain widely available in the UK,” a spokesperson said.
J Sainsbury Plc Chief Executive Officer Simon Roberts said in a media call Tuesday the grocer has a “balanced set of choices” as it works with suppliers to limit costs and to keep products in stock. He warned that rising inflation means pressure on household budgets will intensify this year.
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