Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tesco unveils upgraded value range

Gosh - it certainly isn't easy to find some space to write anything these days. I am on maternity leave - now with two little kids in the house. It is magical but it has also been quite a change to handle the switch from one to two. And the change has certainly resulted in very few moments for myself so far.
But I do want to share an interesting newsflash that I read today. This time about Tesco, one of the worlds largest and most innovative retailers. Tesco is the king of private label branding and now they've upgraded and rebranded their low cost, low frills Tesco Value range. The Value range has been part of the Tesco offer for a very long time. This portfolio of blue and white striped products was launched more than twenty years ago and includes products across all categories and grocery aisles.

Now the Value range that we have seen so far is history. During these years of recession and European economic turmoil Tesco has decided to update and upgrade the Value portfolio. Its revamped look and feel is developed to add higher quality associations. And the new brand name of ' Everyday Value' should demonstrate that this is more than a design upgrade. Tesco has reviewed the entire portfolio and upgraded the range of products with more modern, desirable food whilst getting rid of nasties such as MSG across the whole range.

It may seem a bit surprising that Tesco has decided to do this change now - at a time when one would assume that many Brits would be bargain hunters and rather interested in the 'old' Value range. But I think that Tesco is right on track with this change - and maybe it should have happened sooner. I assume that this move is based on a long-term decline in sales of the Value range and that the 'old' Value range wasn't seen to reflect positively on Tesco as a quality brand and grocery chain.

Behind this I also believe that this move represents a longer-term change in western society. Consumers have become more quality and health aware. And to only focus on 'cheap' and 'bargain' isn't enough anymore. Fewer are prepared to make the trade-off between cheap, empty calories and nutritious food.  When producers or grocery chains focus on this single-minded message of 'cheap' it comes with negative associations to 'bad quality and bad for me', resulting in declining sales of the cheapest products in store... 

So it is interesting to see that the largest Swedish grocery chain ICA just launched their 'Basic' range concept. A range that is... well, basic... It's red and white clinical exterior doesn't appeal to anyone with an interest in food or nutrition, but is solely focused on the cash stripped bargain hunters. I would not be surprised if ICA looked west when developing this range, inspired by the 'old' Tesco Value look and feel. So, given the Tesco move away from this focus it will certainly be interesting to see how well this line of products is being received in Sweden.

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