Thousands of dollars worth of meat and dairy products had to be dumped after a malfunction at Napier Pak'nSave's main chiller.

Customers were left "bewildered" by the bare refrigerator shelves on Wednesday morning, when all stock inside the main chiller was removed.

Pak'nSave Napier operator Robbie Watson said a malfunction in the cooling system of its main chiller overnight forced their hand.

"As the product may not have been kept at the correct temperature, we removed and disposed of everything in the chiller before opening this morning," he said.

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"The issue has now been fixed and we're in the process of replacing the stock, which we expect to be back to normal levels tomorrow."

Watson added: "We apologise to any customers who have been inconvenienced."

Pak'nSave Napier removed some chilled products after a refrigeration breakdown. Photo / Supplied
Pak'nSave Napier removed some chilled products after a refrigeration breakdown. Photo / Supplied

Denise Gore, who came across the empty cabinets, said she had an inkling something wasn't quite right after she noticed the car park was "emptier than usual".

"They must have had a power outage," she said. "They were withdrawing a lot of chilled and frozen goods from sale.

"It's visually shocking. I turned the corner and just stopped in my tracks and gaped."

Gore added: "People around the shop looked a bit bewildered at the sight of empty cabinets everywhere."

The meat section was one area of the supermarket affected. Photo / Supplied
The meat section was one area of the supermarket affected. Photo / Supplied

According to Gore, a bulk of chilled and frozen foods, along with chilled drinks, were withdrawn from the shop floor.

"The cabinets where the milk is still had products, as did yoghurt and the frozen vegetable and ice cream freezers, but that may have changed," she said.

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"I didn't ask want to ask about the wasted food or when it would be fixed, as I imagine the staff would be rather stressed."

Gore joked: "They are being far more cautious than I am at my place, but imagine the outcry if people got food poisoning."