Starburst lollies will no longer be on the shelves at your local supermarket.
Coles confirmed to The New Daily on Tuesday it had followed Woolworths in removing Starbursts products. Outraged consumers are already rallying online, demanding supermarkets bring them back.
The changes affect the entire Starburst range including chews, snakes, babies, fruits and the party mix.
Competitors Allens Lollies and The Natural Confectionary Company remain among Coles and Woolworths cheaper alternatives.
“We regularly review our product range to ensure we have the products customers want while providing great value,” a Coles spokeswoman said.
“Following a recent range review, Coles will no longer be stocking Starburst products.”
Woolworths told The New Daily it discontinued the Starburst range in late 2015, adding: “We continue to stock a wide range of delicious chocolates and sweets which are very popular with our customers and great value”.
While both Coles and Woolworths refused to explain the reasons for the removal of the popular product range, a Facebook post from a Coles representative cited reduced consumer demand.
“We can assure you that this decision is not one made lightly,” the post read.
“It’s our job to provide customers with choice and value but with limited shelf space, we have to balance providing choice with making sure the most popular products customers want to buy are available every time they shop.
“Keeping products that are not selling on shelf makes this difficult.”
Where to get your Starburst fix?
While Coles indicated the removal of Starbursts came in response to low consumer demand, other retailers rejoiced at the decision and began efforts to cash in.
7-Eleven has taken the removal of Starbursts in major supermarkets to their advantage, claiming the lolly range will be incorporated into their June promotion.
“Starburst fans should visit their local 7-Eleven where the Starburst range is stocked and performing strongly,” a spokesman told The New Daily.
Metcash confirmed its Australian IGA stores continue to stock Starburst, while Kmart reported it was also “business as usual”. BIG W also said its customers “continue to enjoy them”.
A push for a Starburst comeback
One consumer responded to the controversial decision by launching a petition, accusing Coles of favouring other brands for shelf space and profit reasons.
“I think it’s a cop-out when your grocery store deletes lines that you’ve always purchased, citing no demand for the product,” she said.
“I think it’s a giant conspiracy, to demand more money from companies for their shelf space.”
Dr Michael Callaghan, a marketing expert at Deakin University, said the move was likely an effort for supermarkets to maximise profit from shelf space.
“Everything on the supermarket shelves costs money,” he said.
“Lots of brands have lost out on supermarkets reducing what’s on their shelves.
“Supermarkets tend to put their home-branded products first and those making the highest margins second.
“Allens has just increased their product range. It’s likely they’ve stolen customers from competing products like Starbursts and supermarkets are making more money from selling these new products.”
Mars Wrigley Confectionery, which owns Starbursts, told The New Daily it did not wish to comment.