Douwe Egberts coffee returns to Colruyt as dispute is ended

Douwe Egberts coffee returns to Colruyt as dispute is ended
The DE factory in Grimbergen used to be a familiar sight to motorists on the Ring, until it closed down in 2016 ©Belga

Douwe Egberts (DE) coffee has made a return to the shelves of Colruyt and Okay supermarkets, after a dispute between the Dutch coffee giant and the supermarket chain was resolved.

The dispute over prices started in January and soon led to a run on the company’s products – not only Douwe Egberts coffee but also L’Or brand coffee, Pickwick tea and Senseo and Jacqmotte brands. As the dispute lasted, DE stopped delivering to Colruyt, and the shelves stood empty.

The dispute was simple: Colruyt wanted DE to reduce its prices, and DE resisted. Colruyt and Okay are both no-frills retailers, and margins are low. The more suppliers charge for their products, the less Colruyt is able to compete on price in the supermarket space.

Now the dispute is over, but the terms have not been revealed.

“We have indeed reached an agreement with Douwe Egberts,” said Hanne Poppe of Colruyt.

The resolution leaves Colruyt free to concentrate on another dispute, this time with Coca-Cola. The problem is precisely the same as it was with DE.

Talks are still taking place,” said Poppe. “For the time being, we still have soft drinks for sale, but stocks are beginning to go down.”

Coca-Cola products include not only the red cans of cola, but also a range of other soft drinks such as Fuze Tea and Sprite, as well as Minute Maid fruit juices and more.

Alan Hope

The Brussels Times

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