Tesco rebrands Value range
Could the new Everyday Value products bring us any closer to being proud to go basic and meet all our expectations at the same time?
Tesco has revamped its familiar blue-and-white striped Value range after almost 20 years on the shelves. Instead of Tesco Value, we will now be seeing colourful Everyday Value products around the store.
The supermarket heavyweight has transformed more than 550 lines following extensive research on what customers want from a budget value brand today.
But are rebranding campaigns enough to shake off the stigma associated with buying bottom of the range and can we really get good value for money in supermarkets without sacrificing on quality, ethics, and nutrition?
Would you buy value?
There used to be a hint of embarrassment associated with value range products. Targeted at poorer shoppers, buying basics was seen by some as a confession that your finances were in a bad way.
But with the purse strings tightening for most households at the moment, is that shame still prevalent or do we rejoice at grabbing a good bargain?
The figures suggest we are unabashed. Tesco Value is estimated to be worth £1 billion in sales (just as much as its top price Finest range) and according to Kantar Worldpanel data, the supermarket own-label budget market is growing at 9.3% every year.
That said, a Which? survey conducted last year revealed that people were highly selective about the sort of food they decide to downgrade on.
Two-thirds of those surveryed would buy store cupboard groceries that were from a value range, 61% would happily buy basic tinned food and 61% would not hesitate to buy fresh fruit and vegetables that were not premium or branded.
Yet people were less likely to pick up products like dairy (38%), meat (14%), fish (14%) or ready meals (13%) from the budget section.
It seems we are willing to buy non-branded tins (Tesco’s top selling Value products are baked beans and chopped tomatoes) but are unwilling to sacrifice on foodstuffs that have ethical, quality and health concerns like meat and dairy.
This makes sense when you consider products that are cheap are not so cheerful when you discover they were farmed from battery hens or contain masses of salt and fat. Worst of all is when you realise that pork steak you bought is actually only 5% pork.
The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ seems relevant, but can Everyday Value offer us more and improve on those poorer performing no frills products like meat and dairy?
Tesco was the first retailer to launch a line of affordable products almost 20 years ago during the recession of the 1990s, but has only now decided to rebrand.
The driving force at the heart of this campaign according to David Wood, Tesco UK marketing director, is that affordable quality is more relevant than ever but “customers’ needs have changed”.
Tesco is responding to customers concerned at the quality you get for low cost goods and claims the 550 products in the Everyday Value range “taste better, look better and are healthier”, but still remain at the same price.
Among the long list of product improvements, Tesco proudly proclaims that there is now 100% fish fillet in the new Everyday Value fish fingers (I dread to think what used to make up the family favourite) and the basic mince will have a lower fat content than the old Value version.
The new lines also aim to support British produce and provide more convenience to shoppers. Grated cheese, for example will come in re-sealable bags, while tinned peas, beetroot and carrots will be 100% British.
As Tesco has realised, expectations about food have changed. A palatable taste, easy to use packaging, reasonable quality, good nutrition and the peace of mind that food is ethical are all major influences when selecting goods from the shelves, not just price.
Tesco believes the no frills products can tick all these boxes and still stay cheap, but Sue Dibb, executive director at the Food Ethics Council, thinks otherwise:
She explained: “The savings should come from the no-frills packaging, not from compromising on quality, taste, nutrition and ethics. But you’re unlikely to find higher standards such as fair-trade, organic or higher animal welfare in value ranges. Even in these tough financial times shoppers need to recognise that we can’t expect farmers to produce good food unless we’re prepared to pay a fair price for it.”
Value products are, in all situations, compromising on something to drive the price down.
Mix and match
If you are not satisfied with the Everyday Value range or other supermarket basics and can definitely taste the difference, here are a few ways to make sure you are getting value for money without compromising too much in other areas:
- Combine regular and premium, so indulge for a few items and save on others
- Swap and taste a few key products each week to find a happy medium between quality and price
- Watch out for offers on branded products - while they are usually for unhealthy snack foods, some are on useful household goods
- Take advantage of Mysupermarket, which allows you to compare the price of your trolley across all the big supermarkets
- Shop around at discount stores like Aldi or get essentials from pound shops
- Grow your own vegetables to avoid additives
- Make your own meals to avoid the salt and fat added to ready meals and processed foods
- Buy frozen as it lasts longer and is cheaper than fresh
- Go to the butchers to get quality meat for less
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