Unilever battles ‘unprecedented’ inflation with price hike

Unilever has been warned there is “only so much… cost it can add to a tub of Marmite” as it grapples with “unprecedented” inflation.

The Anglo-Dutch giant, which also owns Cornetto, Dove and Hellmann’s, said it had raised prices by 4.1 per cent in the third quarter.

It did not rule out further hikes in the months ahead but said it was treading carefully to avoid damaging the business.

Businesses are being hammered by inflationary costs from HGV driver shortages alongside soaring energy and packaging costs.

READ MORE: Unilever unification could be scuppered by €11b Dutch tax

Earlier this week, Nestlé admitted bringing in “responsible” price increases to cope with its extra expenses.

Unilever reported that underlying sales rose 2.5 per cent in the three months to September 30, bolstered by demand in the United States, India, China and Turkey.

UK sales declined slightly over the quarter compared to last year.

Chief executive Alan Jope told investors: “We have delivered a good quarter against strong comparators, with underlying sales growth of 2.5 per cent.

“The combination of our strategic choices and focus on operational excellence continue to drive competitive growth.”

Unilever shares, down 13 per cent in the year to date, jumped 1.2 per cent when markets opened this morning.

“The reality is Covid is going to leave a very tricky path ahead for Unilever though,” Freetrade senior analyst Dan Lane said.

“There’s only so much of that extra cost it can add to a tub of Marmite before consumers skip the spread altogether.”

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