Mustard, vinaigrette, oils and now cookies… Cascading stock-outs in stores

Mustard, vinaigrette, oils and now cookies… Cascading stock-outs in stores

It’s hard to get a jar of mustard at the moment… Like the famous condiment, for several weeks, supermarket shelves have seen a whole range of products disappear, for lack of being able to replenish stocks.

Cooking oil, vinaigrette, fire starter or fogger… In his latest study, panelist Nielsen IQ listed the products that are most in short supply. Between early March and mid-August 2022, mustard was the most out of stock with 21% less availability, followed by vinaigrette (14%) and fire products (12%). Oils (6%) and poultry (5%) are also part of the classification.

Several explanations have been put forward: poor harvests due to drought, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or even slaughter linked to avian flu in poultry farms.

Read also: Faced with inflation, how Aldi, Lidl and Leclerc are doing well

Uncertainty around the war in Ukraine

From the weekend following the invasion in Ukraine, we saw a rush in the shops​, explains Myriam Qadi, researcher at the NielsenIQ Institute, interviewed by 60 million consumers. With rising prices and the uncertainty of the outcome of the war, many households bought basic necessities. For mustard, the unavailability is not only due to precautionary purchases, as sales are decreasing. The product is scarce. In July, nearly 30% of stores had no mustard​, says the expert.

A phenomenon which is explained in particular by a poor harvest last year in Canada, the world’s third largest producer of mustard seeds, and which represents nearly 80% of French imports to make the condiment.

These shortages are not without consequences for distributors. “Since the beginning of the year, the gross loss of profit linked to ruptures has reached 2.7 billion euros in stores. ​, says Nielsen IQ in its latest report.

Some ranges of dairy products may be missing

And the situation could continue to deteriorate. In a press release published on Friday 2 September, Syndifrais, the professional association for fresh dairy products, indicates that certain ranges could be missing. In question, possible trade-offs to deal with ​production cost inflation.

“Manufacturers will have to arbitrate because some productions are now in negative margins” ​, underlines the union. “We have always worked with extremely low margins which do not allow us to absorb the multiple increases that affect us. The next few weeks will be crucial for our businesses.” ​, concludes Patrick Falconnier, president of Syndifrais.

Other products are already running out, due to health contingencies:Cookies from the Mikado, Petit Écolier, Granola, Pépito and Pim’s brands. The reason ? A salmonella alert in a Belgian factory of the chocolate supplier of the Mondelez group. But no contaminated product found its way into the food chain and so there was no product recall, according to the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain.

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