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‘We’re doing everything we can to increase production and continue to keep our retail customers up to date,’ said PepsiCo

Quaker Oats has joined Walkers in facing supply disruption caused by a recent IT system upgrade at owner PepsiCo.

A PepsiCo spokesman confirmed to The Grocer today (10 November) that supply of Quaker Oats – the UK’s biggest porridge oats brand – had been affected, after social media users were spotted complaining they could not find the brand’s products in stores.

“A recent IT system upgrade has disrupted the supply of some of our products, including Quaker Oats,” the spokesman said.

“Our sites are still making a range of products daily but at a reduced scale. We’re doing everything we can to increase production and continue to keep our retail customers up to date. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused.”

The scope of disruption is not fully clear: at the time of writing, many Quaker SKUs were still available online at the major mults, although some SKUs including its Protein Golden Syrup Porridge Sachets, Variety Porridge Sachets and Golden Syrup Big Pots were listed as out of stock on Morrisons’ website.

It comes as the same recent IT system upgrade caused major disruptions to the supply of Walkers crisps, as first revealed by The Grocer in October. It is understood PepsiCo responded to the issue by asking its retail customers to cut one entire promotional cycle from shelves and remove Walkers products from off-shelf feature space.

The fmcg giant today told the BBC it was “doing everything we can” to increase its production and get Walkers stock back on supermarket shelves.

Poor availability of Walkers has not been limited to the supermarkets over recent weeks. Last month, the crisp giant was one of several major suppliers named as suffering availability issues in the wholesale channel – with lead times, delivery profiles and promotion plans all affected.

But PepsiCo is not alone in facing major supply issues this year. Fellow big brands such as Diet Coke and Lucozade have fallen victim to shortages over recent months, amid the ongoing shortage of hauliers. 

The disruption comes as new research suggests that ongoing supply issues risk driving shoppers away from their favourite brands and damaging brand loyalty.

A recent survey of 1,000 UK adults found almost three-quarters of respondents (74%) would cut ties with their favourite brands permanently if delays and availability issues continued.