Brexit trolls turn on Unilever after family favorites pulled from Tesco website over plunging pound
Unilever, which owns world-famous brands like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Lynx deodorants, told Tesco the price of its most popular products would have to rise by up to 10 percent due to the collapse of the sterling. Tesco reportedly refused the price hike, resulting in over 200 Unilever products being withdrawn from the supermarket’s online shop.
Unilever’s social media platforms have since been bombarded with messages from angry Brexit supporters, who vowed to “boycott all Unilever products.”
Comments on the multinational’s Facebook page included a young man saying “I would rather you guys go out of business than me give up brexit.”
In another comment, a businessman wrote: “If you produced your products in the UK then they would be much lower in cost all over the world because of the low pound. Instead you closed production of many products in the UK and went abroad. There are other products as good as yours who do give us jobs in the UK.”
But some Remainers hit back, replying that Britain “cannot be forever protected from the economic disaster that is Brexit.”
“We were warned it would hurt and it will – not being able to buy a Pot Noodle is just the start,” said a woman going by the name of Rebecca Louise. “I am boycotting Dyson, Wetherspoon and other companies who supported a Leave vote out of pure self-interest. Thank you Unilever for helping everyone see more clearly the effects of Brexit.”
The pound has dropped nearly 18 percent against the US dollar since the EU referendum results were announced on June 24.
Unilever’s chief financial officer, Graeme Pitkethly, believed the row with Tesco would be “resolved very quickly” but added that the weaker sterling was really to blame. It is understood that the company is in discussions over price hikes with other major retailers.
The EU referendum is being re-run in the comments on Unilever's Facebook page. pic.twitter.com/5ZBGZJrpMp— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) October 13, 2016
Commenting on the dispute, a spokesperson for discount retailer Lidl said: “Whilst we do not discuss buying prices, we can always assure our customers that we will offer them the best quality products at the lowest retail prices.”
But Sainsbury’s former boss Justin King seemed less optimistic, suggesting that “retailers’ margins are already squeezed.”
The businessman added that with the Brexit effect hitting British currency hard, “there is no room to absorb input price pressures and costs will need to be passed on.
"But no one wants to be the first to break cover. No business wants to be the first to blame Brexit for a rise in prices. But once someone does, there will be a flood of companies, because they will all be suffering."
Shares for both Unilever and Tesco also plunged as a result of the spat, with Tesco’s shares down by 2 percent and Unilever’s losing nearly 2.5 percent on Thursday morning.