At $20 less than competitor Aldi's offering, Coles’ limited edition kitchen appliance was so highly sought-after that crowds queued outside their local stores early on Friday morning.
According to several accounts on social media, many shoppers missed out on nabbing a 25L air fryer — which boasts a pizza cooking function — largely because there was not enough stock to meet the huge demand.
“What absolute rubbish,” one disappointed customer wrote on Facebook.
“Got up early just like a lot of other customers to get down to my local participating Coles [...] To find out there were only 10 available and there were already 10 people in the line who were waiting, I was probably the 14th customer in the store. I’m just more pissed that they thought 10 of these items would be enough for each store when they would know that it is in hot demand. Why could you not have provided more, Coles?” they asked.
A shopper from Queensland piped up in the comments, claiming that their local Helensvale store had just eight air fryers in stock.
“Joke on us, Helensvale only had 8 sold out in 5 minutes,” they wrote.
In a separate post on the Coles Facebook page, another customer recounted a ‘nasty’ situation at the inner Brisbane store of Greenslopes in which a female shopper ‘wrenched’ an air fryer out of another woman’s arms in full view of staff.
A Coles spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle that they were ‘blown away’ by the air fryer’s popularity and are working to ‘increase supplies’ of popular Best Buy products.
“We have been blown away with the popularity of our new Coles Best Buys range,” the supplied statement read.
“Our limited edition all-in-one oven and air fryer was particularly popular and sold out this morning. Other products from the Coles Best Buys range of kitchen appliances and electronics are still available at participating stores while stocks last.
“Customers are telling us they’re really enjoying the great value offered across more than a hundred new products since launching the Coles Best Buys range last month. We are working hard to increase supplies of the most popular items as part of our upcoming fortnightly events.”
Aldi’s air fryer a sell-out, too
It was a similar scene in Aldi supermarkets across the country on Wednesday when their $149 23L air fryer oven went on sale as part of the German retail giant’s weekly Special Buys.
Aldi fans took to social media to report how their local stores were unable to keep up with customer demand.
“Disappointed that the store only had 7 air fryers and 50 people wanting it,” one wrote online.
One user said that customers were ‘abusing others’ while trying to get their hands on the fryer.
An Aldi spokesperson told Yahoo Lifestyle: “We forecast the stock levels of all Special Buys products based on several factors including the sales of previous, similar products. The forecasting and ordering of the air fryer occurred well before the impacts of COVID-19 and it is obvious that demand for home cooking appliances has never been stronger.
“As a retailer, we are as disappointed as our customers when we do not match demand. Our buying team are already placing orders to put this product back on sale in the coming months.”
Coles also had a number of other kitchen essentials for sale on Friday including a 250W stick mixer on sale for $19.99, a 6.5L slow cooker for $29.99 and a three-tier food steamer for $39.99.
They've also announced that they are expanding the Best Buys program to an additional 30 stores, taking the total to 80 supermarkets.
Coles’ Best Buys takes place fortnightly on Friday in select stores only.
Additional reporting by Marni Dixit.