Frito-Lay brand snacks return to Loblaw stores after resolving pricing dispute

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The high profile food battle between Pepsi-Co Foods and Loblaws has been resolved.

Consumers can expect to see Doritos, Ruffles, Tostitos and other Frito-Lay products stocked at Loblaw-owned grocery stores for Easter weekend.

“From the beginning, it was about delivering value to our customers,” Loblaw spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said in an email Saturday.

“We are pleased to once again have a large assortment in our fries aisle, with a mix of new Canadian flavors and classic favorites, at varying price points to meet our customers’ needs,” said Thomas.

Thomas said “products will start shipping on Monday and we expect to be fully stocked by Easter weekend.”

The deal includes Frito-Lay and Quaker wallets.

In an email sent by Loblaw to stores and obtained by The Star, Loblaws said shipments should quickly return to normal.

“Starting Monday, shipments will return and we will once again be able to provide our customers with a wide range of assortments in our snack, breakfast and meal prep aisles,” the email reads.

“We encourage stores to continue to support any brands they have added to their assortment during the service disruption with Frito Lay,” the email continued. “Loblaw has made no commitment with Frito Lay regarding storage space, so you are not required to allocate them the same amount of space they had prior to the service disruption. We will continue to support brands such as Old Dutch and Kettle Chips in flyers, so putting these brands on the shelves, on an ongoing basis, is encouraged.

The tensions meant that Canadian consumers could not buy Doritos, Ruffles, Tostitos and other Frito-Lay brands at Loblaw-owned grocery stores.

The chips disappeared from shelves earlier this year after Frito-Lay tried to raise the prices it charges Loblaw Companies Ltd. for certain products.

After Loblaw’s refusal, Frito-Lay snatched sales from the grocery giant.

Tensions have been stoked by supply chain issues and food price inflation that have worsened the pandemic.

“We have now mutually resolved the issues with one of our valued retail partners, and we thank our loyal consumers, employees and customer partners for their support through this difficult time,” said Sheri Morgan. from Pepsi-Co in an email Saturday.

“We are committed to our Canadian manufacturing and operations and look forward to resuming distribution of our products coast to coast in the coming days,” said Morgan.

There was no comment on who blinked first in the dispute.

“As this is a confidential matter with a valued client, I am unable to provide any additional details,” Morgan said in her email.

The result is “tremendous,” said Michael Graydon, CEO of Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada, the national trade association representing Canada’s food, beverage and consumer goods manufacturers.

“We should see the shelves start to fill up pretty quickly,” Graydon said in a phone interview.

Graydon said he was not surprised to see things resolved.

“It wasn’t a question of if,” he said. “It’s more a question of when.”

“I think it’s very positive,” Graydon said. “It’s a shame he got to this particular state.”

The agreement was welcomed as “good news” by Sylvain Charlebois, researcher and professor of food distribution and food policy at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

“This feud hasn’t helped the food industry as a whole,” Charlebois said in a phone interview.

With files from Rosa Saba

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