Tesco has found itself on the receiving end of a backlash against its fictitious fresh produce branding.
The retailer has introduced 76 new lines across seven different farm brands – including Redmere Farms for vegetables and Boswell Farms for beef – to replace a number of its Everyday Value range of fruit, vegetables and meat products.
The aim is to push more of a quality message as it battles against the discounters at the value end of the fresh produce market. However, Tesco has faced allegations of misleading shoppers with labels that suggest a strong UK heritage when in fact some of the produce has come from as far afield as New Zealand and South America.
The Soil Association’s chief executive Helen Browning told the Daily Mail that shoppers deserved better. “We increasingly want to know where our food comes from, and we want honesty and authenticity, not deceptive veneers.”
Provenance has become an increasingly important battleground in fresh produce following the horsemeat scandal. But the revelation that none of the seven named farms actually exists has led to farmers’ groups calling for greater transparency from Tesco.
“In order for customers to not be misled by this new branding it is vital that Tesco ensures that the origin – varied across the products – is extremely clear to customers,” said the NFU’s head of food and farming Phil Bicknell.