The launch of a Walkers crisps promotion at Asda has sparked protests from wholesalers claiming they cannot compete.
Asda is offering boxes of 30 25g packs of Walkers crisps for £2.28, less than 8p per pack.
Larger wholesalers and buying groups claimed they had similar deals with Walkers, but smaller independent wholesalers said the prices they had to pay were significantly higher.
Wholesalers acknowledge that retailers often bypass them and visit the major supermarkets to buy alcoholic drinks. Now some fear a similar trend in the crisps and snacks category.
Asda has already launched its Christmas round of price cuts on spirits and multipacks of beer and lager.
One wholesaler said Walkers’ decision to team up with Asda for the offer came as a disappointment, but not a surprise. “Nothing surprises me any more,” he said. “We have not been offered anything like that from Walkers.”
Another said: “Our 12-pack promotions come to roughly the same price, but only for those in our retail club. We have spoken to Walkers about it, but we don’t have much influence.”
He said growing numbers of suppliers appeared to be biased towards supermarkets in terms of deals, claiming they could guarantee the most consistent promotional compliance.
A Walkers spokesman said: “We supply multipack cases to wholesalers as well as grocery customers, providing comparable value deals in both channels.
“We work closely with our wholesale partners to ensure products suit their retail customer base and in this instance the wholesaler would need to serve retailers that would sell large multipack formats.”
Rod Addy