Ahold, Unilever end contract terms dispute

Related tags Albert heijn Unilever

The dispute between Ahold's Albert Heijn chain and the Anglo-Dutch
group Unilever, which saw several of the latter's brands removed
from shelves, has ended with a new supply agreement.

The biggest Dutch supermarket chain, Ahold's Albert Heijn, will resume selling certain products of food group Unilever after they agreed on contract terms, the companies said on Monday.

Albert Heijn 10 days ago removed some Unilever products including Bertoli mayonnaise, Cif cleaning towels and Becel margarine, from its shelves to put pressure on Unilever during negotiations on trading conditions such as pricing.

The firms declined to give details of the outcome of the negotiations.

Negotiations between retailers and their suppliers are often tough, but they rarely go to the extent of stripping products off shelves.

"It was quite rare, we almost never do this. We normally try to reach an agreement together with our suppliers, but this time talks were a bit more difficult,"​ Albert Heijn spokesman Hans Koeleman said.

"It won't become a policy of Albert Heijn (to remove products from the shelves), but that also depends on suppliers,"​ he added.

Albert Heijn, which took less than 30 of the hundreds of Unilever products it sells off its shelves, said all the products would be available again from today.

As the removal only lasted one week, most stores still had the affected Unilever products in stock, the company said.

Ahold, the world's third biggest food retail and foodservice group in sales terms, generates about 60 per cent of its turnover in the United States, where it owns chains such as Stop & Shop and Giant Landover.

Consumer products group Anglo-Dutch Unilever makes Lipton teas, Dove soap and Skippy peanut butter. It consolidated its global number three ranking in the food sector behind Nestle and Kraft Foods by buying US Bestfoods.

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