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Carama-xed! - Are supermarket range reductions to blame for the death of many former favourites?

10th November 2023

Photograph of Carama-xed! - Are supermarket range reductions to blame for the death of many former favourites?

Nestle's Caramac bars have joined Bounty Dark on the long roll call of sweets and snacks that are vanishing from our stores. The home delivery expert ParcelHero says supermarkets’ drive to reduce their range of products is hastening the demise of many former family favourites.

Nestlé’s Caramac has joined Mars’ Bounty Dark, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk 30% Less Sugar and Nestle’s Animal Bar on the list of family favourite treats that have bit the dust this year. Now the home delivery expert ParcelHero says their demise could be the fault of supermarkets slashing the range of products they stock to reduce costs.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks M.I.L.T., says: ‘Britain’s supermarkets are busy reducing the number of different ranges they offer to slash their supply chain costs, and that’s having a big impact on many former family favourite products. Caramac is just one example of a range that was dropped from the shelves of several supermarket chains, making it uneconomical to continue production. Animal Bar and Bounty Dark have also vanished recently as a result of supermarket cuts (though Mars still claims Bounty Dark's disappearance is "temporary").

‘It's a move that has been happening for some time. Rowntree's Tooty Frooties sweets vanished in 2019 and Mars' Topic hazelnut bars last year after losing their place on the shelves. Supermarkets have been eager to reduce their range of what they term "Stock Keeping Units", or SKUs - in other words, the range of items they offer. Tesco has been particularly firm on reducing its selection of products. Its Project Reset, which commenced in 2015, reduced the number of lines it stocked by up to 30% in an attempt to cut costs. That’s because, back in 2015, Tesco was offering 90,000 different products, as opposed to Aldi or Liddle’s 2,000.

‘However, it could be argued that the cuts are now going too far. You can’t buy Bolands (once Jacob’s) Lemon Puff biscuits or Fox’s Glacier Mints (two favourites of mine, I admit) at Tesco any longer. Could even Glacier Mints be at risk of the axe if other stores follow suit?

‘Of course, supermarkets argue that too great a range of products is simply confusing, and indeed Tesco’s choice of 28 kinds of tomato ketchup alone back in 2015 does seem excessive – especially as in Aldi there was just one ketchup in one size at the time.

‘It’s not only particular products that have been dropped, but also entire types of goods. You’ll have noticed that the DVDs and Blu-rays are gone from your Sainsbury’s in recent years. High Street supermarkets, like every other type of retailer, are fighting both inflation and online competition. Variety may be the spice of life, but at a cost they are now less willing to pay – especially as they are currently operating at very thin margins on a wide range of staple products.

‘As retail settles to a new equilibrium, it will be those retailers with strong in-store and online sales that will ultimately triumph in a post-Covid world. ParcelHero’s influential report “2030: Death of the High Street” has been discussed in Parliament. It reveals that, unless retailers develop an omnichannel approach, embracing both online and physical store sales, the High Street as we know it will reach a dead-end by 2030. Read the full report at: