Tesco shoppers – leave the free fruit for the kids!

Tesco has now rolled out the free fruit for kids initiative to most of its stores.

Burnley Tesco was one of the pioneers but had to suspend it briefly because adults were helping themselves to the fruit, by the bagful in some cases.

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The other day I noticed the new posters and realised people were taking the “Help yourself” slogan too literally.

As I was taking the picture a couple of women were discussing it and one asked the other if she should take one. I politely told her it was for kids only at which her friend said she always took one so her friend did.

Shame on you both!

Fresh fish display in Tesco Burnley

Shopping in my local Tesco branch I wandered over to the fish counter and noticed that someone had been busy. P1030770

My colleague and fellow-blogger kindadukish recently told me that Morrison’s had won the best fresh fish display award.

Maybe Tesco are upping their game!

And here’s another display a few weeks later.p1030982


Free fruit for the kids – nice one Tesco Burnley

P1030416I first spotted this a few weeks ago after noticing kids walking round eating fruit.

My first thought was that they’d pinched it or were helping parents reduce the household bill by eating en route to the check-out.

But no, Tesco are trying to get kids to eat more healthily, removing sweets from check-out lanes and offering free fruit as part of their EatHappy Project.

So well done Billie (Community Champion) and the team at Tesco Burnley!

Update 29 July 2016:  Pity scheme has been suspended at Burnley store because of adults taking the fruit when it’s being rolled out in 800 other stores.

Matt  Davies, the new CEO is claiming the credit according to the Sun while the Times says the suggestion came from a Tesco worker in Lincolnshire!

Davies said “We’re hoping this will create healthy eating habits that will stay with children”

First posted 27 March 2016

Thai Union Group – that’s John West – facing supermarket bans

UnknownOther supermarkets look set to follow Tesco’s example in banning John West tuna products.

John West, owned by the Thai Union Group, has broken its promise to use sustainable fishing methods for at least half its products by 2014, and 100% by 2017. In reality only 2% of its tuna is caught sustainably.

Tesco threatened to pull its products last year and have recently re-confirmed that it would remove most of its products within weeks from its shelves. The supermarket said “it had decided to delist a number of core John West lines” after it reviewed its sustainable fishing policy.

Now Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have joined the fray. Sainsbury’s suggested that it would take action if John West didn’t improve its practices by 2018. A spokesman said “we’re the UK’s leading retailer of sustainable fish and we expect our suppliers to take a responsible approach to sourcing“.

Waitrose has set a tighter deadline and has told John West that all its canned tuna must be caught by pole and line or Marine Stewardship Council certified by the end of next year. All its own-brand tuna already meet this standard.

Morrisons is not following suit and says it has no plans to review its contract with John West – shame on them – and the Co-op has made no comment.

The Thai company has issued the usual corporate waffle about Tesco’s action being part of their cost reduction strategy (and of course nothing to do with fishing methods).

They also say they are working with the WWF  “to ensure all our products are on the path to the Marine Stewardship Council certification by the end of the initial phase of the partnership in 2018“.

Again more corporate-speak. They only say “they will be on the path” not actually changing anything. It could be a long and winding road but commercial pressure may force them to change eventually.

btw If you thought you were buying tuna from a UK company think again John West is no longer Scottish but Thai owned. Similarly Princes, the tinned salmon company which also sells well-know soup brands, is no longer just a Liverpool company but owned by Mitsubishi. That’s globalisation for you.

Bananas – we love ’em but waste a lot

P1030766Bananas are the UK’s most popular health snack with 80% saying they like them,

We each eat three a week on average or 12kg a year and 20% of us eat one every day.

However we also throw away 160 million of them according to a survey by Sainsbury’s – enough to stretch from the UK to New Zealand.

One in three of us throw a banana away if it has the slightest blemish or black mark.

Someone wrote to the Times bout this saying that they got bruised because supermarkets store them the wrong way. They put them on the shelves “canoe” style rather than like an arch or hanging them which makes them bruise more easily.

Food waste is worse than packaging waste as it produces methane, which is more likely to cause global warning than carbon dioxide.

In total there may be £1 billion of food thrown away each year.

Sainsbury’s is trying out a series of initiatives to reduce food waste including making banana bread in its in-house bakeries using fruit at or past its sell-by date.

And it’s investing £1 million in its Swadlincote store to make it the official test-bed of ideas to cut waste.

Another supermarket, Tesco, which is the only one to publish annual figures on food waste, said its food waste had actually increased last year to the equivalent of one in a hundred food products being wasted.

Several stores have initiatives to reduce food waste including selling mis-shapen vegetables and donating to food banks.


Tesco selling music for good causes

Browsing through the CDs in my local Tesco store I noticed one priced at £1. Which seemed too good a bargain to miss.

It turned out to be a single CD released by Tesco to raise money for its two main charities: The British Heart Foundation, and Diabetes UK.

Both those mean something to me so it had to go in my basket.

The CD is by a family called the Neales who appeared on a TV talent show, obviously a father and his sons.


Is it any good? Well it’s not my cup of tea but that’s because I thought it might be a cover of the fabulous Four Tops song.

But judge for yourself -after you’ve put for your hand in your pocket for a measly £1. It’s for good causes! 


Which supermarkets are still treating suppliers badly?

custom_text_delivery_truck_13837Well it’s Morrisons that has the worst record at the moment according to the industry watchdog, the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA).

20% of a survey of 1,000 suppliers said that Morrisons rarely or never complied with industry rules governing supply chain relations. Recently Morrisons were forced to pay back £2 million they had demanded in cash from suppliers.

David Morrison, the Chief Executive of Morrisons was formerly with Tesco so has obviously carried over some of the bad tactics they previously used.

Now Tesco is considered the most improved main grocer in terms of supplier relations only 6 months after it was the subject of a major investigation and a scathing report.

Iceland and Asda were also thought be in breach of the legally binding code of practice.

On the positive side Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Lidl were most likely to comply consistently well with the rules.

The GCA Christine Tacon said that most of the ten supermarkets had improved their treatment of suppliers over the last 12 months although 1 in 3 suppliers still experience delays in getting paid and 1 in 4 said supermarkets had gone back on agreements.

So he wants to be able to double the GCA levy to £2 million a year and get the supermarkets that are not conforming to pay a bigger share. The GCA has the power to fine supermarkets 1% of their turnover if they don’t comply with the code.

There were 5 key issues she wanted to address in future:

  1. charges for artwork & design services
  2. delays in settling invoices
  3. payments demanded for margin maintenance
  4. payment demanded to maintain a supply
  5. payment for better positioning ins stores

A problem exists because suppliers are frightened to complain, less than half admitted they would make a complaint.

Tesco donating waste food to charities

SCAN0207I’ve posted before about food waste and the efforts made by some supermarkets to do something about it from selling wonky vegetables to donating to food banks.

Here’s Tesco‘s commitment (spotted in my local branch in Burnley, Lancashire) to a worthwhile cause in collaboration with Irish social enterprise FareshareFoodCloud.

Nemo may be doing more harm than good

cropped-cnv00015_101.jpgNemo bubble bath (promoting Disney’s Finding Nemo movie) contains plastic “microbeads”.

These pollute the oceans and damage marine life.These tiny pieces of plastic are used to add glitter to products or to act as exfoliants. When fish eat these they can’t digest them and starve as the plastic artificially fills up the fish’s stomach.

Tesco is auditing all its branded bathroom products that contain micro-beads or micro-plastics to encourage manufacturers to remove them.

President Obama has already come under pressure to ban them.

The Sunday Times (ST) discovered that the plastic is also found in children’s toothpaste and other children’s products such as the Frozen range hair detangler and Disney Princess shower wash.

Greenpeace says that most people in the UK would support a ban.  The plastic in exfoliants could be replaced by natural products such as sea salt or oatmeal.

It’s not just Tesco products; Johnson & Johnson facial scrub, Superdrug‘s tea tree skin care, Bliss body scrub, and Arm & Hammer toothpaste also contain microbeads.

Microplastics make up 85% of the plastic in the environment which includes degraded carrier bags as well as bathroom waste from beauty products.

Although some are visible to the naked eye many are too small to be removed by water filtration.

Tesco has promised to remove all microbeads from products by 2017. Arm & Hammer says they are only in its Truly Radiant toothpaste and they are looking for a safe alternative. Johnson & Johnson, Bliss and Superdrug have all promised to remove microbeads from their products. H&A, the company that makes the Disney products didn’t respond to a request from the ST for a comment.

I have posted previously about the dangers of plastic to marine life and more recently about ocean fish becoming addicted to plastic junk 


Tesco focussing on customers

Tesco has been criticised in the past (for the way it treats suppliers for instance) but has been striving to get back in our good books, not  least with community initiatives.

At my local store for example they raised £30,000 for charity last year and make regular donations to food banks as well as providing free fruit for kids (and cutting some kids’ sugary drinks).

Now they’ve gone a step further by inviting regular customers to take part in a Tesco Family event – what used to be called a focus group. We were invited to the store one evening to meet store manager Tom Mollekin and other managers.

After providing refreshments – from Tesco’s Finest range of course – Tom and his team told us about some of the things they were doing, including work educating children about food and its sources.

They then took questions, and criticisms, on everything from the quality of products, prices, store layout, car parking, Costa, the car wash, you name it. They seemed very open to all this and on some suggestions were happy to take immediate action.

They plan to call another meeting in about three months time so we’ll see how they maintain this interaction with their customers.IMG_4994