• Major pet food brands are in short supply at the UK's biggest supermarket amid a spat over rising prices.
  • Mars pet products are missing from shelves online and in store, Insider found Wednesday.
  • Tesco told Insider that it did not want to pass on "unjustifiable price increases" to customers.

The UK's biggest supermarket chain is seeing shortages of some pet food brands after a major US supplier halted deliveries in a spat over rising food prices.

Mars — which produces pet food brands like Cesar, Pedigree, and Whiskas — stopped deliveries to Tesco after the supermarket chain said it did not want to hike the price of the items.

Shortages of the items were noticeable both in store and online. The CEO of Grocery Insight, Steve Dresser, posted an image on Twitter of the pet food shelves in his local store, showing a number of products as out of stock.

Most products were still available when Insider visited Tesco's online store Wednesday, though a handful were out of stock.

Gaps on pet food shelves were noticeable at a local Tesco store Insider visited, as the image below shows:

A local Tesco store showed some shortages of Mars pet food brands. Foto: Grace Dean/Insider.

Retailers and restaurants are having to increase the price of their items as a result of surging food inflation, and the rising cost of energy and labor.

Grocery prices have soared since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has caused fertilizer shortages. Unpredictable weather in 2022 has also caused issues with global food supplies.

Tesco's dispute with Mars comes after the supermarket giant also clashed with another US supplier, Heinz, over the rising cost of items. Last week, numerous Heinz products, including baked beans and tomato ketchup were missing from shelves in many Tesco stores, The Grocer first reported.

The price of a four pack of Heinz tomato soup has grown by 40% from £2.50 ($2.99) to £3.50 ($4.18), meanwhile a four pack of baked beans has grown 20% from £2.50 ($2.99) to £2.99 ($3.57) in other UK supermarkets, according to the retail research company, Assosia.

A number of Heinz items were still out of stock online when Insider checked on Wednesday.

In a statement sent to Insider, Tesco said it is "laser-focused on keeping the cost of the weekly shop in check."

"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," the statement added.

"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," Tesco said.

In a statement sent to Insider, Mars said it would not comment on "individual commercial relationships."

"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," a spokesperson said.

"There are many reasons why our products may be out of stock in certain stores from time to time. We cannot comment on individual commercial relationships or situations."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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