Loblaw, Frito-Lay resolve high-profile pricing dispute that pulled chips from shelves

Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press

Published Monday, April 11, 2022 4:19PM EDT

Last Updated Monday, April 11, 2022 4:19PM EDT

A high-profile pricing dispute that saw one of Canada’s largest food makers stop shipments of chips and snacks to the country’s largest grocer has been resolved.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. said brands like Cheetos, Doritos and Ruffles will be back on store shelves by Easter weekend after it resolved the matter with Frito-Lay Canada.

“We’re happy to have a wider assortment in our chip isolate once again, with a mix of new Canadian flavors and classic favorites at varying prices to suit our customers’ needs,” Loblaw spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said in an email Monday.

She declined to comment on specific vendor negotiations but said the issue was about providing value to customers.

Frito-Lay spokeswoman Sheri Morgan confirmed that the company has mutually resolved matters with one of its retail partners.

“We are committed to our Canadian manufacturing and operations and look forward to resuming distribution of our products from coast to coast in the coming days,” she said in an email Monday.

Loblaw, which includes conventional chains such as Zehrs, Atlantic Superstore and Independent and discount stores No Frills and Maxi, expects to be fully stocked by the weekend, Thomas said.

In February, Frito-Lay halted shipments to Loblaw stores after the grocer allegedly refused a price increase brought forward by the food manufacturer.

The situation left chip and snack food isolated from many Loblaw stores less full than usual.

Joel Gregoire, associate director of Canada Food and Drink with market research company Mintel, said the dispute underscores the challenges grocers and suppliers face in a high-inflation environment.

Meanwhile, the timing of the resolution of the dispute also suggests sales of chips and snack food tend to do well in the coming months, he said.

“With the weather warming soon and BBQ season set to start in the weeks to come, having brands on-shelf that Canadians turn to when entertaining matters.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 11, 2022.

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