Tesco and Unilever end very public spat over prices

17 October 2016 - Janet Bird

marmite tesco store

A bitter - and very public - spat between Big Four supermarket Tesco and UK food manufacturing giant Unilever over prices has ended.

The remarkable standoff began last week when Tesco refused to pay the ten percent higher prices being demanded by Unilever for its products to compensate for the steep drop in the value of the pound, which has meant higher bills for imported goods.

The dispute, dubbed 'Marmitegate' by the media, led to popular products such as Marmite, Ben & Jerry's ice-cream, Pot Noodles, Persil washing powder and Hellmann's Mayonnaise disappearing from Tesco's shelves after Unilever refused to deliver until the supermarket accepted the price hike.

MPs and media weighed in to the row, largely on the side of Tesco, which was portrayed by many of the tabloids as a consumer champion defending the interests of the British public.

Unilever faced criticism for blaming the fall in the value of the pound for the price hike, as many of its products are made in the UK.

With share prices for both companies dipping as a result of the row, talks were resumed and a mutually acceptable compromise - the details of which have not been made public - has now been reached.

But retail analysts warn that this dispute, short-lived though it was, may be a sign of things to come as the post-Brexit impact on the value of the pound begins to bite.

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