Tag Archives: supermarkets

Sainsbury’s and Asda could have to sell up to 300 stores

Despite consistent reassurances by Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe that there will be no store closures or job losses as a result of the proposed merger between his company and rival supermarket chain Asda, new analysis by The Times suggests that competition watchdogs could demand that as many as 300 stores are sold off if the deal is given the go ahead.

The analysis is said to have used the same modelling techniques which are likely to be employed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) when considering such a deal, and also revealed that at around half of the 300 locations identified, Tesco or Morrisons may not wish to buy one of the former Asda or Sainsbury’s stores.

The news will come as a blow to Sainsbury’s which had already been accused of offering “Mickey Mouse figures” about the merger by MP Neil Parish, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Last week the CMA confirmed that its formal investigation into the merger has begun. Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said, “We will carry out a thorough investigation to find out if this merger could lead to higher prices or a worse quality of service for shoppers and will not allow it to go ahead unless any concerns we find are fully dealt with.” In May an initial estimate by the BBC suggested that 73 stores may have to be sold to get the deal approved.

Photo Credit: Flickr

The post Sainsbury’s and Asda could have to sell up to 300 stores appeared first on Hort News on 30 August 2018.

Waitrose unveils packaging made from tomatoes

Supermarket Waitrose is introducing punnets made from tomato vines for its range of Duchy Organic tomatoes.

The punnets are made from a mixture of dried tomato vines and recycled cardboard and are being rolled out nationally following a successful trial in 2017. The first product will be Waitrose Duchy cherry tomatoes on the vine in mid June, with the remaining four lines in the new brown packaging from the end of July.

According to Waitrose, the cutting-edge packaging is widely recyclable and replaces the original plastic punnets the tomatoes were in. As well as reducing plastic it also provides a use for the tomato vines which were previously treated as waste.

Nicola Waller, Head of Fresh Produce at Waitrose, commented, “We’re serious about looking for alternative packaging materials. This uses materials which would otherwise be wasted which can only be a good thing. ‘We will also ensure that all our own-label packaging is widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2025 – and looking for alternative forms of packaging is part of this process.”

Waitrose recently introduced packaging for Red Lentil Pasta and Green Pea Pasta which is partly made from pulses.

Photo Credit: Waitrose

The post Waitrose unveils packaging made from tomatoes appeared first on Hort News on 7 June 2018.

Tesco free fruit scheme hits 50 million mark

Tesco says that it has now given more than 50 million pieces of free fruit to children in its stores after the idea was first proposed by an employee in its Brigg store in Lincolnshire almost two years ago.

The scheme, which was the brainchild of Maria Simpson, was so well received that the retailer subsequently rolled it out across the country, with some 800 stores now taking part. Maria commented, “Over 50 million, wow! This means that children across the UK have had a healthy and free piece of fruit from Tesco over 50 million times! It’s incredibly humbling for me to know that children are benefiting from this. They love it and the parents love it too.”

Alessandra Bellini, Tesco’s Chief Customer Officer, added, “I’m incredibly proud that a simple idea from one of our colleagues has gone on to have such a big impact. 50 million pieces of free fruit in two years will go a long way towards creating healthy habits that will stay with children as they grow up.”

According to research Tesco and mumsnet, a third of parents said their children have eaten more fruit thanks to the scheme, and three quarters of parents said that the initiative has made their shopping trip easier.

Photo Credit: Tesco

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Waitrose expands recipe box trial

Following a successful trial, Waitrose is extending the roll-out of its Cook Well from Waitrose recipe box scheme.

The retailer says that its chefs and nutritionists have worked together to develop easy to prepare meals that are nutritionally balanced, with no red traffic lights for saturated fat, sugar and salt. Each meal also provides at least one of the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

The service has been created in conjunction with tech consultancy ThoughtWorks and has both one-off and weekly subscription customers. Boxes contain pre-portioned, bagged ingredients for easy storage and minimal waste and step-by-step recipe cards, and are delivered to customers’ homes free of charge.

Archie Mason, Head of Business Development at the John Lewis Partnership commented, “Waitrose was the first supermarket to develop a recipe box scheme which went live in March this year to selected customers. We have been greatly encouraged by the initial response with customers. We have taken their feedback on board, adding more delicious healthy recipes this month along with an additional delivery day and from October, the option to order a box for a family of four.

Photo Credit: Waitrose

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Morrisons’ veg boxes proving popular

Supermarket Morrisons has launched two new value veg boxes, one priced at £3 (although it was launched at a promotional price of just £1) and a larger one at £5. The smaller box is available online, with the larger one in stores.

Morrisons vegetable buyer Andy Todd said, “We’ve listened to our customers who told us they want even more affordable veg. They are a great way for our customers to buy British or eat seasonally or feed the family for the week.” The retailer says the £5 box contains enough vegetables to feed a family of four for four or five days. The seasonal products include items such as carrots, courgettes, onions, potatoes, cauliflower, with many lines being slightly misshapen or out of specification for other products. Produce is currently sourced from up to 60 British growers, but the retailer said that the new line would not be exclusively British in origin.

Photo Credit: Morrisons

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Asda stops selling loose produce

According to the Mirror, Asda’s store in Bedminster, Bristol has stopped selling certain loose product lines, including potatoes, carrots and apples.

The online report said that shoppers had attempted to get round the requirement to buy pre-packs by opening them up and taking loose items to the checkout. “It’s not even about the money (although for some it will be) but think of the food waste,” said one customer. “Also think of a poor granny having to carry 1k of carrots and 1k of potatoes home when she’s cooking a stew for one!”

The Daily Mail said that the policy appeared to be nationwide with the Asda stores in Colne and Radcliffe also stopping the sale of loose produce.

Photo Caption: Many people have complained about the lack of loose produce in Asda store on social media.

Photo Credit: Twitter

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Consumers will buy wonky fruit & veg if cheap enough

According to the results of a new survey by retail marketing specialist Blue Yonder, consumers are more willing to buy misshapen and so-called ‘wonky’ fruits and vegetables, but they expect a price discount.

The research, which was carried out amongst 2,000 shoppers in the UK, USA, France and Germany, found that 73 per cent  would consider buying fresh produce which had natural flaws, but 90 per cent said that they expected retailers to charge less for them than they would for regular fruit.

Of the four countries surveyed, France was the most accepting of misshapen produce with 93 per cent of those questioned saying they would buy it if there was a discount. However, less than half of Brits said they would buy wonky veg, with or without a price discount.

Matt Hopkins, retail industry director for Blue Yonder, said: “Discounting imperfect produce helps overcome the waste problem in the supply chain. However, for it to have a real impact on waste reduction, retailers need to understand what demand will be for products – wonky or not – to accurately stock the right amount of ‘imperfect’ versus ‘perfect’ fruit and vegetables.

“It would be pointless to reduce waste in the supply chain, only to see retailers having to throw it away from supermarket and distribution centre shelves.

“The findings also indicate that accurate markdown pricing is needed to successfully sell imperfect fruit and vegetables. Pricing ‘imperfect fruit and veg’ versus ‘perfect fruit and veg’ will add to the complexity and number of decisions in a world where grocery is already struggling to keep pace. The use of advanced machine learning algorithms for the best decisions, delivered daily, is important for survival and success.”

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Tesco to revamp distribution network

Changes to Tesco’s distribution network will see the closure of two depots and the loss of 1,000 jobs, the company has said.

However, the changes, which include the closure of Welham Green and Chesterfield distribution centres, will also create 500 new roles. Welham Green’s grocery operations will move to the Reading distribution centre, while the majority of general merchandising will move into one distribution centre at Middlesbrough. The company is also withdrawing from a warehouse shared with logistics firm DHL in Daventry, Northamptonshire. Clothing operations there will move to the nearby Tesco Daventry distribution centre.

Tesco UK and ROI CEO Matt Davies commented, “As the needs of our customers change, it’s vital we transform our business for the future. As part of this we are proposing to close two of our distribution centres in the UK. These changes will help to simplify our distribution operations so we can continue to serve our customers better.”

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Supermarket sales drop below £100 billion

Supermarket sales have sunk below the £100 billion mark for the first time in six years as competition in the grocery sector, particularly between discounters and traditional retailers, increases.

Food retail revenues dropped by 3 per cent to £99 billion in the second quarter, according to a study by The Share Centre. Industry observers say that the UK launch of online grocery service AmazonFresh could make the sector even tougher.

Helal Miah, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said that intense price pressure and competition from discounters have made it a difficult time for Britain’s supermarkets: “It has been a tough couple of years for UK plc, battling against global economic headwinds and sector-specific problems that have beset commodities, energy, and food retailers.”

He also warned that economic uncertainty, triggered by the EU referendum result, could also harm retailers’ sales. “The implications of the economic slowdown will mean lower demand for sectors such as house builders and retailers, while the travel industry is already feeling the effects,” he said.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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Morrisons cuts prices as investors leave

Morrisons has said it will cut the average price of its fresh produce by 17 per cent as part of wider price cutting moves which the retailer hopes will shore up its market position.

1,045 products, including meat and toiletries, have been reduced in price in the third round of price cuts by the retailer this year. Morrisons called them its ‘biggest ever price crunch.’ Fresh produce prices will be cut by 17 per cent on average and up to 56 per cent on some fruit and vegetable products.

Andy Atkinson, Morrisons’ customer and marketing director, said, “We are constantly listening to our customers and know they are concerned about whether food prices will go up following the Brexit vote, especially on imports. We are British farming’s biggest supermarket customer, which means we can better control our prices, and this latest round of crunches demonstrates our commitment to offering the best possible value to our customers this summer.”

However, newspapers reported that investors sold shares in the retailer after the announcement, with the share price falling 2 per cent to 182.05 pence on Monday afternoon.

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