Ketchup War

The Lempert Report
July 12, 2022

Phil: So I love it when we have retailers and brands fighting it out. We saw it a few years ago with Campbell Soup and Wal-Mart, and the CEO of Campbell's Soup was basically forced to resign as a result. She had gone to Wal-Mart to raise prices. Wal-Mart said, no way. This is pre-pandemic. Are we going to raise prices? And as a result, Wal-Mart cut about half of the Campbell's Soup products off their shelves.  Now we have another battle across the pond with Kraft Heinz and Tesco. What's going on there?

Sally: Well, you know, we all know that Britain's biggest grocer is Tesco and so this is this is pretty impactful. They are not going to be supplying ketchup and baked beans made behind. They say that they have a store brand alternative, but they are not going to stock those products for right now because they do not want their customers to express more inflation.

Sally: They are seeing a big increase in poverty over there. And so so the company does not want to let these brands raise prices any more.

Phil: Good for them. And and also, you know, when there's prices that are justified, whether it's because of the oil, the petrochemicals that are used in plastic packaging or ingredients, and as long as they can justify them, you know, I think retailers have an obligation to the companies, to their shoppers to pass those on. But what Tesco has said is they will not pass on unjustifiable price increases to our customers, that there are plenty of alternatives that are out there.  And I think we're going to see more battles like this, you know, over the next few months as these food companies are trying to increase their prices.

Sally: Yes. And how did we feel seeing a big increase in in-store brands in the past couple of years? And I think particularly during the time of COVID. So, you know, as those brands continue to grow, there's going to be more competition for some of the ones that have been around a lot longer.

Phil: Absolutely agree.