A jar of Marmite is arranged for a photogaph in Brenchley, south east England, on October 13, 2016.
British staple Marmite was taken off the virtual shelves at British supermarket Tesco on Thursday, following a reported row with supplier Unilever over pricing after the pound plummeted on fears over the UK's Brexit plans. Jars of Marmite were "currently not available" in the online store of Tesco -- the world's third biggest supermarket chain -- after the company reportedly refused Unilever's request to hike prices. / AFP / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Brexit Is a Distraction – This Marmite Row Is Sheer Business Opportunism

By Anna Rhodes | 7:34 am, October 13, 2016

News of Tesco’s pricing dispute with Unilever has shocked the nation, with revelations that Marmite, Ben & Jerry’s and PG Tips have been pulled from online sale (though they remain available in stores) striking particularly hard.

Brexit has been blamed for the debacle – on the grounds that sterling’s recent 17% depreciation has inevitably led to Unilever’s reported 10% price hike.

And while a currency slide will inevitably increase import prices, it has been pointed out that some products – including Marmite – are made wholly in the UK. Nonetheless, gleeful Remoaners are happy to claim that Brixteers have wrought this misery on themselves.

But we have the right to question why toast-lovers the nation over are being shafted to feather the nest of one of the world’s largest consumer goods firm (market cap $137.2 billion).

Tesco, by contrast, has come off as an unlikely champion of the British consumer in refusing to budge, or pass the prices on to the shopper.

Of course, they have their own supply chain to think of, and don’t want to be forced to choose between raising prices (pushing more people into the arms of Aldi &co) or taking a hit to their precarious profits.

Unilever is essentially trying to pull a fast one – hoping the political climate will function as cover for a surprise price rise that consumers are helpless to resist.

Rather than indulge in Brexit slanging matches, Remainer and Brexiteer alike should stand up for the shoppers set to suffer from big business opportunism.