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Tesco sells off south-east Asian operations 

Tesco sells off south-east Asian operations 


UK retailer Tesco is to pull out of south-east Asia, having agreed the sale of its operations to Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand for US$10.6 billion. This represents a major reversal of its strategy of international expansion. 

In a statement, Tesco’s chief executive, Dave Lewis, said: “Following inbound interest and a detailed strategic review of all options, we are announcing today the proposed sale of Tesco Thailand and Tesco Malaysia. This sale releases material value and allows us to further simplify and focus the business, as well as to return significant value to shareholders.” 

Tesco’s sale of its nearly 2,000 stores in Thailand and 74 in Malaysia constitutes the final stage of its exit strategy from Asia, having sold its South Korean HomePlus business in 2015. In February, Tesco announced its plans to sell its 20 per cent stake in Gain Land to China Resources, to end its activities in China.

Charoen Pokphand outbid two rival Sino-Thai conglomerates, Central Group and TCC Group. Central Group’s offer was just over US$9bn, according to people close to the deal, and TCC recently raised a $10 billion loan to finance its bid, according to Bloomberg. 


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Tesco to offload Asian operations?

Tesco to offload Asian operations?

Reports have emerged that leading UK retailer, Tesco, is considering selling its Asian business, Lotus, for £7.2bn. According to The Independent, Tesco has received “inbound interest” for its Lotus brand which operates over 2,000 stores and employs 60,000 people in Thailand and Malaysia. The news comes as somewhat of a shock given that Tesco has experienced sustained success in the Asian markets. However, while Lotus generated 20% of the group’s profits last year, it has faced several challenges. Nevertheless, it would undoubtedly be considered a trophy asset by a number of major investors. Financial markets responded positively to the news of the potential sale, and led to a 4% jump in Tesco’s shares. The retailer is reported to be reviewing the situation but “no decisions concerning the future of Tesco Thailand or Malaysia have been taken”.

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Tesco to remove 1 billion pieces of plastic


UK retailer Tesco has stapled its green credentials to its mast and laid down a challenge to its rivals by pledging to eliminate plastic in its packaging of many own-brand products. The pledge cites a commitment to remove one billion pieces of plastic from its products by the end of 2020. The initiative is part of the retailer’s commitment to its 4Rs strategy: Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

The items that will affected by the drive include: plastic bags used to pack loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items, replacing them with paper ones; plastic trays for ready meals; secondary lids on products such as cream, yoghurts and cereals; sporks and straws for snack pots and drinks cartons; as well as 200 million pieces of plastic used to pack clothing and greetings cards.

According to a company statement: “If packaging can’t be recycled, it will have no place at Tesco.” The retailer announced that in 2019, it had removed over 4,000 tons of materials from 800 lines.

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Tesco trials plastic-free fruit and vegetable packaging

Tesco trials plastic-free fruit and vegetable packaging

UK retail giant Tesco has announced a month-long trial of eliminating plastic-wrapped fruits and vegetables in an attempt to cut out waste. The scheme will start in two of the chain’s Tesco Extra stores (in Watford and Swindon). Instead of packaged items, customers will find loose versions of 45 different products, including apples, onions, mushrooms and peppers. Director of quality, Sarah Bradbury, said, “We hope this trial proves popular with customers. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the results, including any impact on food waste.” Last year, Tesco announced that it would ban hard-to-recycle plastic packaging by 2019 and make all packaging recyclable by 2025. Large supermarkets currently produce over 800,000 tons of plastic packaging waste each year, leading consumers to increasingly demand sustainability.


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Tesco now selling world’s hottest chilli pepper

The Carolina Reaper will be sold as part of Tesco’s new Komodo Dragon brand of super-hot chilli peppers and will be marked with a blue flash label. It will be available in more than 130 Tesco stores at a price of £1 for a packet of 2-3 chilli peppers.

The Carolina Reaper – infamous as the world’s hottest chilli pepper – is for the first time being commercially grown in the UK and now on sale in Tesco stores across the country.

In a press release, the retail chain said the pepper is about 400 times hotter than a jalapeno, the chilli pepper commonly used on spicy take away and supermarket pizzas.

The Carolina Reaper will be sold as part of Tesco’s new Komodo Dragon brand of super-hot chilli peppers and will be marked with a blue flash label. It will be available in more than 130 Tesco stores at a price of £1 for a packet of 2-3 chilli peppers.

Tesco chilli pepper buyer Phoebe Burgess said despite being astonishingly hot, the pepper also has a wonderful fruity taste, with just a sliver is needed to add exciting flavour to a curry.

“Last year the Komodo Dragon became our most popular chilli pepper ever and since then we’ve been inundated with requests from customers to see if we could go one better and thanks to the fantastic growing skills of our chilli producer we’ve done that,” Burgess said.

The Carolina Reaper is being grown by the UK’s largest producer of chilli peppers, Salvatore Genovese, whose seven acre farm is based in Blunham, Bedfordshire.
Genovese started growing chilli peppers 15 years ago after taking over his parents’ cucumber business. Since then, chilli peppers have become so popular that he now grows about one million, or 15 tons, a week just to satisfy UK demand.

“Chilli pepper culture has become very popular in the UK over the last five years and on the back of the acclaim I’ve received from supplying Tesco I now get requests from all over the world,” Genovese said.

How hot is the Carolina Reaper?

Tesco said the Carolina Reaper is officially the hottest chilli pepper in the world, according to the Guinness Book Of Records, measuring an average 1.5 million Scovilles,  the unit used to measure heat in a chilli pepper.

The Komodo Dragon has a 1.4 million Scoville heat rating.

Tesco said it has become well known for its top of the heat range chilli peppers and in recent years has stocked the Trinidad Scorpion, Bhut Jolokia and Bedfordshire Super Naga.



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Tesco announces new long term contracts for potato growers


Tesco says it will issue contracts worth £12 million over three years to help support British Agriculture and become the first UK retailer to introduce new long term contracts for potato growers and packers. It said the move will help safeguard the future of UK farmers who supply the supermarket chain and provide customers with the best quality produce. 

“Through the Tesco Sustainable Farming Group – Potatoes (TSFG-Potatoes), growers will benefit from greater financial certainty, allowing them to invest in their businesses for the future,” it said.

The TSFG-Potatoes will be made up of a collection of producers and industry experts from across the country, and will aim to build stronger relationships through the whole supply chain to ensure customers are offered the best range and varieties at the right price.

The group will also take some of the pressure off British potato growers, who are faced with the challenges of difficult growing conditions, declining consumption and an increasingly volatile market, Tesco said in a press release.

Tesco’s Commercial Director for Fresh Food, Matt Simister, said there isn’t a single simple solution to resolve the uncertainty faced by many potato growers but the new contracts “will help to bring more confidence back into the whole potato supply chain and build a truly sustainable British potato industry.”

Under the new scheme, from September, producers will be given direct contracts with Tesco and a three year rolling commitment which will guarantee in advance, the volume of the crop that the supermarket will buy.

TSFG growers will also receive a price based on their production costs, which will take into account inflation, farming inputs like the cost of fertiliser and the additional expenses involved in growing high quality fresh produce for customers.

“By developing a structure to guarantee a fair price for their produce, Tesco hopes the scheme will pave the way for other retailers to work more collaboratively with growers, and help secure the future of the British potato industry,” the retailer said.

Over the past two decades, the number of potato growers across Britain has fallen by over 85% per cent from 14,000, as an unpredictable trading environment, poor harvests and producers leaving the industry in favour of alternative crops.

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Record numbers shop at Lidl in Ireland

The latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland, published today for the 12 weeks ending 22 May 2016, show a strong sales boost for the grocery market with sales increasing by 4.0% compared with last year.

Kantar Worldpanel’s latest supermarket share figures for – for the 12 weeks to May 22 – show a strong sales boost for the grocery market with sales increasing by 4.0% compared with last year, the global expert in shoppers’ behaviour reports.

Kantar Worldpanel director David Berry said the data shows consumers are making more frequent visits to supermarkets, averaging an additional four trips in the latest 12 weeks compared with last year. “Coupled with increased prices this means that the average household is spending an additional €50 on groceries this year, amounting to an extra €89 million for the market.”

In terms of grocery market share for the latest 12 week period, SuperValu, which enjoyed its tenth consecutive period of growth, was in the lead – for the eighth month in a row – with a 22.7% share of the market. It was closely followed by Tesco with 22.4% and Dunnes with 21.4%. Berry noted Tesco saw its first growth in footfall in 10 periods, “suggesting its investment in keeping prices down may be starting to pay off.”

“Lidl continues to post impressive sales growth as more consumers choose to shop with the retailer – a record 72.4% of all Irish households shopped in a Lidl store in the last quarter, widening the gap between it and rival discounter Aldi. Sales growth for Aldi stands at 2.4% in the latest quarter – a positive step up from the previous results for April and an early sign that sales growth might be starting to improve again,” he said.


source: ​Grocery spend continues to rise, record numbers shop at Lidl, 07/06/2016, Kantar Worldpanel Ireland


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Tesco introduces new UK apple – Red Prince

The Red Prince offers shoppers the superb taste of a high quality English apple - but in spring instead of autumn thanks to its unique structure and the latest storage technology.

Tescto says a new English apple variety that keeps its taste while stored over winter is set to transform the UK apple industry.

Thanks to the latest cold store technology and the apple’s unique structure – it is packed with juice under a deep red skin which makes it ideal for longer term storage – the Red Prince offers the taste of a high quality English apple, but in spring instead of autumn, the UK supermarket chain said in a press release.

The apple, which is grown in Kent, will go on sale this week at Tesco stores across the UK.

Tesco apple expert John Worth said that as the English season doesn’t start until August, the challenge for UK growers has been to come up with a variety that holds its freshness and taste while in cold storage during winter.

“Our grower has gone beyond that and found a new variety that actually improves in taste whilst it is dormant.

“The great thing about the Red Prince, which is a natural cross between the Golden Delicious and Red Jonathon varieties, is that it offers exceptional flavour. It has a tangy, sweet taste and is large and firm.

“Somewhat like a fine wine, while it sleeps, its flavour and texture are enhanced as the natural sugars and acids mature to elevate the eating experience of this premium apple,” he said.

The Red Prince is exclusively marketed by Kent-based fruit growers Adrian Scripps, one of the UK’s largest apple growers.

Adrian Scripps managing director James Simpson said the latest storage technology is ued to to put the apple “to sleep” by lowering the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the cold store to ultra-low levels. 

“Apples are monitored daily for any change in the skin colour, which can indicate that the levels are incorrect and are putting the apple under stress.

“Oxygen levels are set at  an optimum level found for the apple to store longer. This is different than normal storage where a standard regime is used that is not bespoke to the fruit in store,” Simpson said.

Tesco said it trialled the Red Prince in a few stores last year and the feedback from customers was excellent.

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Tesco introduces cauliflower & mushroom ‘steaks’

Cauliflower steaks and portobello mushroom burgers are already very popular in trendy restaurants around the country and in recipes from celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver but this is the first time they’ve ever been available in high street supermarkets.

In a nod to vegetarians who feel an afterthought at BBQs, UK supermarket chain Tesco this week launched a new prepared vegetables BBQ range featuring cauliflower steaks and Portobello mushroom steaks.

The cauliflower steaks come with a zingy lemon and garlic drizzle, while the portobello mushrooms come with a peppercorn sauce. They are joined in the new line – items in which will cost £2 each – by Halloumi Kebabs and Mega Potato Wedges.

Tesco food developer Alison Stokes said the steaks will be a delicious option not only for vegetarians but also meat eaters.  

“Cauliflower steaks and portobello mushroom burgers are already very popular in trendy restaurants around the country and in recipes from celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver but this is the first time they’ve ever been available in high street supermarkets,” she said.

In a press release, Tesco said cauliflower has become one of the food trends of the past few years thanks to the huge trend for spiralising vegetables as a low carb alternative to rice and couscous. By cutting the cauliflower into steak sized chunks and pan frying it, an amazing meaty caramelised flavour develops, it said.

Portobello mushrooms are equally delicious and filling, as well as low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium. “Adding mushrooms to vegetarian meals add a meaty texture, savory flavour and deliciousness,” Tesco said.

The launch comes at a time when demand for vegetarian food is on the rise. In the last year the supermarket has seen sales for chilled vegetarian ready meals soar by nearly 20%, it said.

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Tesco launches avocado spread

Avocados recently overtook sales of oranges in the UK, says supermarket chain Tesco, which has launched a new avocado spread.

Avocados are so popular they’ve recently overtaken sales of childhood fruit favourite oranges in the UK, supermarket chain Tesco reports.

The most recent 52 week IRI retail sales data shows that the UK avocado market is now worth £150m a year while the UK orange market is worth £126m.

In a press release, the retailer said “super trendy avocado” is set to gain even more fans with Tesco’s launch of an avocado spread substitute for butter and margarine. The dairy free spread will cost £1.20 and be available in 400 Tesco stores across the UK.

It said the move follows other recent avocado food innovations made by it, introducing:

  • the UK’s first ever prepared perfectly ripe frozen avocados,
  • the world’s largest avocado, called Avozilla, which is five times bigger than standard variety.

Tesco spreads buyer Dean Rawlinson said: “Shoppers can’t get enough of avocados which have become extremely popular on account of their great taste, versatility in food and drinks as well as for their nutritional benefits.

“We’re always looking for innovative new avocado products for customers such as the Avozilla or frozen avocado which we launched last year.

 “With this, the UK’s first ever avocado spread, our product developers have created a new and exciting way for shoppers to benefit  from the excellent health credentials of avocados in even more ways.”

In the last year demand for avocados at Tesco has grown by 40%, making it one of the UK’s fastest growing established fruit varieties.

Avocados are also extremely popular in the form of guacamole, which is an essential part of Mexican cuisine and also as an ingredient in smoothies.

Other Tesco avocado products include: finest* Chipotle, Quinoa and Avocado Salad; Squeezy Guacamole Sauce; and even an Avocado and Oatmeal Facemask.

Tesco Avocado Spread:

  • Is a source of vitamin A, D and Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Is suitable for vegetarians and vegans
  • Contains less saturated fat, calories and salt when compared to butter