Popular pet food brands Whiskas, Dreamies and Pedigree could vanish from Tesco shelves as the supermarket giant finds itself embroiled in another supply row.
Last week Kraft Heinz products including ketchup, baked beans and tomato soup were unavailable in some stores after Tesco refused to “pass on unjustifiable price increases” to customers – as suppliers try and offset the impact of soaring inflation.
Now Mars Petcare products – which also makes Sheba cat food and Cesar dog food – are dwindling both in Tesco branches and online after supplies to the retailer were paused in a fresh dispute over price hikes.
Retail analyst Steve Dresser, chief executive of Grocery Insight, has highlighted a series of supply issues on social media.
On Tuesday Mr Dresser said labels on supermarket shelves suggest there will be no further stock for another fortnight at least.
“Gaps definitely opening up on shelf, with the labels indicating no stock arriving to store until 23rd July,” he posted on Twitter, “on all Mars brands – Cesar, Whiskas and Pedigree.”
A Tesco spokesman said the company was “laser focused” on keeping the cost of the weekly shop in check and “offering customers great value”.
“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.”
Mars said: “We are aware that some of our Petcare 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 UK marketplace.
“There are many reasons why our products may be out of stock in certain stores from time to time.”
Mars could not comment on “individual commercial relationships or situations,” the spokeswoman added.
The dispute raises the question about whether manufacturers, retailers or consumers should bear the brunt of the conditions triggered by the challenging economic climate.
Inflation hit a fresh 40-year high of 9.1% in May according to the Office of National Statistics – as Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the government is using “all the tools at our disposal’ to stem the rise in prices.