Easter egg shortage at UK supermarkets
23 April 2014
A high level of Easter egg discounting by supermarkets in the UK, led to shortages on shelves over the past week.
According to UK reports, the shortage particularly affected Tesco, which was understood to have run out of several lines, especially eggs made by Cadbury and Nestle, as well as some Lindt and Mars eggs.
However other supermarkets, such as Asda and Sainsbury’s, also experienced gaps on shelves last week, with four days to go until Easter. In fact, last Tuesday lunchtime, Asda stopped selling Easter eggs on its website, in a bid to prioritise customers who had already placed orders.
The heavy level of Easter egg discounting in an attempt to lure shoppers away from rival supermarkets, was viewed as the main culprit behind the shortage by many in the industry.
Bryan Roberts, analyst at Kantar Retail, said: "This is now becoming standard practice. They hit the shelves on Boxing Day and are then on promotion in some way in the run up to Easter, with the lower price points being particularly blitzed."
He added: "It is a bit self-defeating. Basic economics would suggest that when demand is at its highest you could chose to price your products as you wish. But supermarkets use Easter eggs discounts as something they can talk about in TV adverts, and as a way of driving traffic. It’s because retailers and suppliers are over-obsessed with market share."
In fact, Tesco said it had been running discounts for the eight weeks prior to Easter this year, compared with five weeks last year. Discounters Aldi and Lidl have also increased demand – normally they sell own-brand eggs but they began selling branded Easter lines this year.
A spokesman for Tesco downplayed any talk of shortages though, stating: "You won’t go in on Good Friday and find only one egg on the shelves. There will be plenty of eggs," However he added: "It’s possible we have run out of some of the ranges, in some of the sizes. Quite obviously we are close to Easter and that tends to happen."
An Asda spokesperson said: "To ensure no family goes without their eggs, we have put a hold on the ordering of some products online so we can focus on fulfilling our current orders before the weekend."
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