Foodservice giant Brakes has urged customers to shun branded products in favour of its Brakes own-brand to save money as it warned of a price hike from 1 February.

Global food price inflation had driven it to raise prices on almost all own-label lines as well as some branded products, Brakes said. In one order list, seen by The Grocer, a total of 127 out of 129 products are set to go up in price next month.

However, Brakes pledged to freeze the higher prices on its entire own-label range until August to give customers stability. “If we have control over the pricing we’re guaranteeing those prices until August,” a spokesman said.

And in order to mitigate rising invoice totals, Brakes also advised its customers to switch to its own label.

“If you use Heinz sauces you could be paying almost three times as much for something you give away. Have you ever walked out of an establishment because the sauce was not Heinz?” area sales manager Wayne Pearce wrote in a letter to customers.

Heinz hit back. Consumers were “not fooled by imitators,” a spokesman told The Grocer. “Out of home, eight out of 10 consumers say condiment range and quality is important to their overall meal enjoyment and 82% choose Heinz for their ketchup.”

A Brakes spokesman defended its own-label products. “They’re designed by chefs for chefs,” he said.

“We know our customers are under pressure on prices generally and we encourage them to consider Brakes brand products because we’re confident they will perform well.”

Brakes is not the first wholesaler to put its prices up in recent months. In September, 3663 warned customers to expect price hikes on every line. Brakes also warned other suppliers may put up prices with little or no notice.