Tesco's customer chief: our brands need to make consumers feel valued

The decision to upscale Tesco's own brand range was motivated as much by how customers felt that Tesco saw them as by how shoppers perceived the products, chief customer officer Alessandra Bellini has revealed.

Hearty Food Co: replacing Everyday Value as Tesco's budget range
Hearty Food Co: replacing Everyday Value as Tesco's budget range

The retailer replaced its budget Everyday Value range in fresh food with its controversial farm brands in 2016, and since last year has started replacing other Everyday Value products with a new brand, Hearty Food Co.

"We asked our customers and what we discovered is people didn't feel valued when they bought something called Everyday Value," Bellini said.

"People want to feel they’re really savvy, that they’ve got a bargain, a good deal. Brands are the way that you do that – you give them consistent quality, specifications and pricing."

Bellini was speaking at a press conference following Tesco’s annual results, in which the supermarket reported a healthy boost to sales and profits.

Adding to Bellini’s comments, Lewis said that 10,000 own brand products were being relaunched – 95% of which will be complete by the end of the third quarter this year.

Chief executive Dave Lewis used the conference to discuss the benefits of the merger with wholesaler Booker, which was completed last month.

Some products offered by Booker that were not previously available in Tesco have now been introduced to some Tesco stores, and this will be followed by products from Tesco being made available to independent retailers supplied by Booker, which include the Londis, Budgens and Premier Stores brands. But he said there were no plans for Tesco-branded products to be sold in these places.

The introduction of the farm brands was widely seen as a move to more effectively compete with Aldi and Lidl, which have continued to eat into the market share of the big four supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.

Asked whether he felt Tesco now "had the measure" of the discounters, Lewis said: "It’s not really how we think about it. We focus on our own customers. We focus on what we can do that’s better than what we did before, and that’s better than what anyone else can do for them."