I bought most of my Easter eggs way ahead of time (like the responsible auntie I am), but deciding last minute that I needed a few more, dashed out - like half the nation, it seems - to see what I could grab from my local Tesco Metro. The good news was that, unlike most stores, it actually had some left on the Saturday. The bad news was they were all the same: Cadbury Creme Egg Minis with mug on a three-for-£10 deal.
Had there been a choice, I’d have bought more (who doesn’t love a spot of panic buying, after all?). But at least there was something to buy. Countless other shoppers were confronted with shelves bereft of even the usual sorry selection of broken and unwanted eggs TWO DAYS BEFORE Easter and, needless to say, weren’t very happy (see lead story). The supermarkets duly apologised, but ominously for consumers, it looks as though this could be a sign of things to come - with the experts warning that retailers will be pulling out all the stops to minimise leftover stock this Christmas.
” Surely the goal of demand forecasting is to forecast demand!”
Liz Hamson, Deputy Editor
Some will argue this was sensible demand forecasting - no-one wants a repeat of the Easter egg mountain of 2009 - but surely the goal with demand forecasting is to, ahem, forecast demand. Yes, Easter eggs are low margin and yes, sales dipped last year as a result of warm weather, but, hello, we’ve just had the coldest March in 50 years! Aside from the hordes of eggstremely (apologies) annoyed shoppers, I can’t help feel it’s a cracking (and again) opportunity missed.
If the supermarkets adopt the same tactics next year, perhaps the indies should review their decision to scale back their Easter egg offers. They’d do well to stock up on the anchovies too, which were also in hot demand this Easter, thanks to the Heston Effect (Delia who?). Happily, the lamb that the anchovies were for (we’re all middle-class foodies now) was easy enough to come by. Less happily, fears are mounting it soon won’t be after the big freeze. This week, farmers started to count the cost - with the hardest-hit warning of potential supply shortages and price hikes. We’re all desperate for a break from the bad weather - they really need it.