Heinz Tesco dispute: why Heinz baked beans and ketchup disappeared from supermarket’s shelves - are they back?

Tesco said it did not want to raise prices ‘unjustifiably’ in a cost of living crisis, while Heinz suggested it was necessary given cost pressures resulting from record inflation

The Heinz-Tesco dispute has come to an end, the two businesses have announced.

Many customers at the UK’s largest supermarket had been forced to go without many of the major food brand’s products since 29 June.

These on-shelf gaps included big sellers like Heinz baked beans and tomato ketchup.

So what was the Heinz Tesco dispute all about - and which products have been affected?

Here’s what you need to know.

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Tesco is facing some empty shelves as a result of its dispute with Heinz (image: Getty Images)

Why did Heinz fall out with Tesco?

Heinz is a brand you expect to see in most supermarkets you go into - perhaps with the exception of discounters Aldi and Lidl who mostly have their own versions of grocery’s household names.

The US brand has been a major player in the UK since 1886, when Henry Heinz sold five cases of his recently created product to Fortnum & Mason in London.

But on 29 June, trade magazine The Grocer reported the UK’s biggest supermarket chain Tesco had fallen out with Heinz.

The dispute was believed to revolve around the pricing of Heinz products, and has seen Heinz halt deliveries to Tesco stores.

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Heinz is one of the world’s biggest brands, and is synonymous in the UK with baked beans and ketchup (image: Getty Images)

Kraft Heinz - the corporation that owns the Heinz brand - suggested in a statement that it had sought to pass on price hikes resulting from “today’s challenging economic environment” that has led to “commodity and production costs rising”.

The war in Ukraine has driven up the cost of food ingredients, given many key foodstuffs have had their supplies threatened by Russia’s invasion and the subsequent economic sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s state.

Food production costs have also risen as a result of major increases to energy bills and the price of fuel.

Heinz insisted: “We always look at how we can provide value through price, size and packs so consumers can enjoy the products they love and trust at a price point that works within their budgets, without compromising on quality.”

Kraft Heinz added that it was “working closely with Tesco” in a bid to get its products back on shelf “as quickly as possible”, and felt “confident of a positive resolution”.

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For its part, Tesco suggested Heinz’s price hikes were “unjustifiable” given the UK is in the grip of a major cost of living crisis.

“We’re laser-focused on keeping the cost of the weekly shop in check, offering customers great value through our combination of Aldi Price Match, Low Everyday Prices and Clubcard Prices,” a spokesperson for the retailer said.

“With household budgets under increasing pressure, now more than ever we have a responsibility to ensure customers get the best possible value, and we will not pass on unjustifiable price increases to our customers.

“We’re sorry that this means some products aren’t available right now, but we have plenty of alternatives to choose from and we hope to have this issue resolved soon.”

There’s no indication of when Heinz products will return to Tesco (image: AFP/Getty Images)

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What did Heinz and Tesco say?

In a joint statement released on Friday (8 July), Heinz and Tesco revealed they had resolved their dispute.

“Tesco and Heinz are pleased to have reached an agreement that will see the full range of Heinz products return to Tesco shelves and online, continuing to offer our customers great value on the nation’s favourite Heinz varieties,” the businesses said.

“Lorries full of Heinz products including Heinz Tomato Ketchup and Heinz Beanz will hit the road shortly, and Tesco colleagues will be working hard to ensure shelves are filled again over the coming days.

“With British summertime finally here, Tesco shoppers will be able to get all the essentials they need for their perfect summer salad or barbecue, including the Heinz varieties they know and love. It’s great to be back together.”

Which Heinz products have been missing from Tesco?

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Tesco’s dispute with Heinz left the retailer with many gaps to fill, and it could take some time before these are filled.

The supermarket’s website currently lists the following products as being out of stock:

  • Heinz Baked Beans In Tomato Sauce 4X415g
  • Heinz Baked Beans In Tomato Sauce 1x415g
  • Heinz Baked Beans 3X200g
  • Heinz Baked Beans No Added Sugar 4x200g
  • Heinz Spaghetti In Tomato Sauce 400g
  • Heinz Cream Of Tomato Soup 4x400g
  • Heinz Ravioli In Tomato Sauce 400g
  • Heinz Top Down Tomato Ketchup 910g
  • Heinz Top Down Squeezy Tomato Ketchup Sauce 700g
  • Heinz Top Down Squeezy Tomato Ketchup Sauce 460g
  • Heinz Chicken Noodle Soup 400g
  • Heinz Salad Cream 605g
  • Heinz Salad Cream Light 605g

Some of these products may still be available from some stores, while the stock of Heinz’s other products is likely to vary from store to store.

It’s unknown how long it will take before Heinz products are fully back in stock.