According to shopper research agency Shoppercentric, Tesco needs to be mindful of this row in the face of its competition, especially the discounters who don’t deal with Unilever at all. “Unilever’s portfolio is big enough to make this a very difficult decision for Tesco,” says managing director Danielle Pinnington. “Meanwhile in the short term, shoppers can go elsewhere if they’re after specific products – until those alternative retailers accept the price increase or run out of stock too.
“If it is all about the fundamentals of who absorbs the cost of Brexit then this is not going to be easy,” says Pinnington. “It will be interesting to see which business breaks first. If it is Tesco then ultimately shoppers will take the hit.”