Tesco has relaunched its premium Finest range in the hope of attracting more customers who may have stayed away after the horsemeat scandal engulfed the supermarket.
Bosses also hope to win business from upmarket rival Waitrose, which has seen a huge boost in sales in the past year. Finest is worth £1.4bn to Tesco, with 12m products sold every week, but following a successful relaunch of its Everyday Value range earlier this year, UK chief executive Chris Bush said the gap between the premium and budget ranges was narrowing.
He added: “After the relaunch of Everyday Value, we always intended to work on Finest next. We’ve spent tens of millions on this and hope for double-digit growth from the brand.”
The Finest range has 1,500 lines, with 400 new products added and 750 improved, although items such as premium baked beans and premium tinned ham have been removed.
A campaign is to be launched, with TV and newspaper adverts playing on the provenance of the new products, highlighting sea salt from Anglesey and wild mushrooms from Scotland.
The company has also launched a partnership with ITV 1 series Downton Abbey, its first sponsorship of a TV programme, which is thought to have cost several hundred million pounds.
The company has been keen to highlight where its food has come from after it was hit badly by the horsemeat scandal when horse DNA was found in its own-brand burgers and lasagne. More recently, pork marked as British was found to be Dutch.
However, Mr Bush pointed out that the decision to relaunch the Finest range had been planned for 12 months – before the horsemeat scandal broke.
He said: “We were the first to launch a premium brand and customers were telling us it was looking old and tired, rather than reacting to what happened earlier this year.”
Tesco had recently been struggling in the UK and chief executive Philip Clarke was keen to refocus attentions on its home country.
Tesco Finest British corn-fed free-range chicken breast fillets x2 £4.80
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference British free-range chicken breast fillets x2 £4.71
Asda Extra Special corn-fed chicken breast fillets x2 £4.19
Ocado Jimmy’s corn-fed skin-on-breast free-range chicken fillets x2 £5.25
(Based on weight of 300g)
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