A LACK of Mars Petcare dog and cat food on supermarket shelves is the result of a price dispute between the company and Coles and Woolworths, a union official says.
National Union of Workers regional organiser Mark Schmidt, who represents workers at Mars' Wodonga factory, made the comment on Wednesday.
"Mars has had a price rise with its product and Woolworths and Coles are trying to get in and get their cut and my understanding is that's why there has been a hold-off," Mr Schmidt said.
"The warehouses are full, so it's not that there's a shortage in the product.
"It's the fun and games that go with a product price rise."
Mr Schmidt said that he expected Pedigree and Whiskas goods would return sooner to Coles than Woolworths stores.
Hours later in an email responding to The Border Mail's inquires, a Coles spokeswoman announced that there had been progress.
"Following a short-term availability issue, Mars Petcare products will start returning to Coles shelves this week," she said.
A Woolworths spokesman would not say if pricing was the issue and when the pet food would refill shelves.
"It's not our practice to make public comment on our commercial arrangements with suppliers," he said.
"As stated yesterday, we're working with the supplier to improve availability for our customers as quickly as possible."
She declined to say if that was the case, saying on Wednesday "at the moment it's a supply issue".
Mr Schmidt said that the lack of deliveries to Woolworths and Coles had not affected workers' service - "there's been no loss of hours due to it".
Independent supermarkets have continued to stock Mars products that include dry and canned food.
East Albury and Springdale Heights IGA store operator Bob Mathews said that the situation with Coles and Woolworths was benefiting him.
"There is a significant increase in the volume of people buying the pet food," Mr Mathews said.
"The Pedigree and Whiskas is taking a fair pounding at the moment."
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