Price row between Tesco and Unilever leads to 100s of missing popular products from supermarket's site

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Unilever and Tesco price war
A disagreement on the price of products between Tesco and Unilever has lead to hundreds of missing popular items from the supermarket's website.

Household names including Marmite, Pot Noodles and Ben & Jerry's are just some of the brands that have been affected by the fall-out, after the supermarket and the supplier disagreed on a proposed price increase.

Unilever, who now face higher costs after the fall in value of the pound following Brexit, tried to pass these costs on in higher wholesale prices to the supermarket.

It's been reported that Tesco refused to pay the price increase, with Unilever, the UK's biggest food and grocery manufacturer, since halting deliveries to stores. It's reported a number of supermarkets are embroiled in the row with Unilever, which earlier this year posted profits of around £2 billion for the first half of 2016.

The move is said to be affecting online sales rather than products in store. Shoppers trying to buy items from the Tesco website on Wednesday were met with the message 'Sorry, this product is currently not available'.

When asked about the disappearance of the products, Tesco said: 'We are currently experiencing availability issues on a number of Unilever products.'

'We hope to have this issue resolved soon,' the supermarket added.

Among the brands currently unavailable from Tesco's website is Marmite, Surf washing powder, Comfort fabric conditioner, Hellmann's mayonnaise, Pot Noodles and Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Unilever has declined to comment, although Lord Haskins, the former head of rival firm Northern Foods, told BBC's Newsnight that Brexit had caused 'a huge wobble' in the market, which was already suffering due to a rise in online shopping and discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl.

'Undoubtedly what Unilever is doing is justified in terms of the economics of it, but Tesco's worried that Aldi may not follow suit,' he said.

'They will have to follow suit, because the costs as a result of devaluation are too big for any company to carry.'

Conservative MP Sir Gerald Howarth told the Daily Telegraph: 'I think it will be very damaging to the reputation of Unilever if they seek to use the fall in the pound to exploit the consumer.

'Clearly products which are not dependent upon imports into the United Kingdom will not be affected by the fall in the value of the pound.

'Consumers will switch to other products where companies aren't seeking to fleece the consumer.'

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