Mars bar shortage causes voids on UK supermarket shelves | Food industry

Shoppers looking for Mars bars have been met with empty shelves and ‘out of stock’ messages on supermarket websites, with some stores warning they don’t expect deliveries for two weeks or more.

Asked about the apparent shortages, a major retailer told the Guardian that “[it] it looks like a production issue on Mars could cause discrepancies between retailers.”

In response, Mars Wrigley, the company behind Mars, Snickers, Bounty and Twix bars, said it was “experiencing high levels of demand”, but added that it wanted to “reassure the UK public about the our popular brands are still available across the country. ”.

It comes a month after US chocolate maker Hershey warned of shortages, saying the company “will not be able to fully meet consumer demand”.

Nestlé, which makes KitKats and other chocolate brands, blamed “significant and unprecedented cost inflation” for a 6.5% rise in prices in the first half of this year.

The Guardian visited a handful of Tesco stores in London this week to check availability and found a mixed picture.

In a store in Walthamstow, northeast London, on August 23 there was space on the shelf where standard single Mars bars should have been, although there were plenty of other brands of bars chocolate in stock. When we returned to the same store later in the week, there were no Mars Duo bar packs either. There was a sticker on an empty shelf saying the next delivery was scheduled for September 10.

At another Tesco in Walthamstow, there were no more Mars Duo or Snickers Duo packs on the shelves at the time of the visit.

A Tesco in Camden, north London, had sold Snickers Duo until August 29, while Twix white chocolate bars were sold out, with an expected delivery date of September 9. Twix Xtra bars were available, along with a handful of Mars Duo packs.

Empty Mars Bar shelves at Tesco in Walthamstow. Photograph: Rupert Jones/The Guardian

At a Tesco in King’s Cross, north London, there were standard single bars from Mars, Snickers, Bounty and Twix available, but gaps on the shelves and ‘sorry, out of stock’ stickers where Mars Duo, Snickers Duo and Snickers four packs should have been.

When the Guardian checked Tesco’s website on Friday, it said the four packs of Mars, Snickers and Bounty bars were all out of stock. However, that day there were single Mars bars.

On Asda’s website, a number of Mars bar products were sold out, including four-packs, snack multipacks and low-calorie snack bar multipacks. However, he also had standard single bars in stock.

Other supermarket websites – including Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – appeared to have most if not all brands in stock.

It was not immediately clear whether the lack of stock at some outlets was related to bar production or supply chain or retailer-specific issues.

In the UK, Mars bars are still produced at the same factory where the first bars were handcrafted in 1932. The company states on its website that at this factory in Slough, Berkshire, “we can manufacture nearly 3 million bars per day”.

A Mars Wrigley spokesperson said: ‘We are experiencing high levels of demand for a number of our treats.

They added: “We are producing significant quantities and want to reassure the UK public that our much loved brands are still available across the country.”

Tesco declined to comment.

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