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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Retail chain Tesco acted unreasonably when delaying payments to suppliers, often for lengthy periods of time, according to the UK’s grocery watchdog.
Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) Christine Tacon has told Tesco to introduce significant changes to its practices and systems.
After “a thorough investigation” covering 25 June 2013 to 5 February 2015, she found Britain’s largest supermarket seriously breached a legally-binding Groceries Supply Code of Practice that protect groceries suppliers
In a press release, the GCA said the adjudicator was concerned about three key issues:
Tesco making unilateral deductions from suppliers,
the length of time taken to pay money due to suppliers,
and, in some cases, an intentional delay in paying suppliers.
Her five recommendations are:
1: Money owed to suppliers for goods supplied must be paid in accordance with the terms for payment agreed between Tesco and the supplier.
2: Tesco must not make unilateral deductions.
3: Data input errors identified by suppliers must be resolved promptly.
4: Tesco must provide transparency and clarity in its dealings with suppliers.
5: Tesco finance teams and buyers must be trained in the findings from this investigation.
In her report, Tacon said an example of delays in payments arising from data input errors included “a multi-million pound sum owed to a supplier as a result of price changes being incorrectly applied over a long period. This was paid back by Tesco more than two years after the incorrect charging had begun.”
In regard to duplicate invoicing, generally in respect of promotional activity, she said she saw “examples of large amounts owed to suppliers, of which money owed for duplicate invoices formed part of the total, including…nearly £2 million which took over 12 months to be repaid.”
Tesco says it’s sorry & has already made big changes
Responding to the report’s release, Tesco said in a press release that it accepts the findings of the report and is committed to continuing to build trusted partnerships with suppliers.
Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said that in 2014, Tesco undertook its own review into certain historic practices, “which were both unsustainable and harmful to our suppliers.”
“We shared these practices with the Adjudicator, and publicly apologised. Today, I would like to apologise again. We are sorry,” he said.
After a comprehensive review of how it works with its 3,000 UK suppliers, Tesco says it has implemented 14 significant initiatives to improve the way it works with suppliers and how it runs its business.
The company said that new initiatives included it becoming the first UK retailer to publish its payment terms with its suppliers, resulting in a fair, transparent and consistent approach across its supply base. “The move introduced payment terms of 14 days for hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses across the UK,” it said.
Brussels sprouts are a traditional part of the Christmas dinner in the UK and Tesco says this year’s will be much bigger than usual thanks to an unseasonably warm autumn in Britain.
And not only that, the larger size means they’ll be easier to peel, without losing their sweet flavour, and customers will need fewer of them on their Christmas dinner plates, according to Tesco sprout expert Rob Hooper.
“With temperatures reaching up to 10 degrees higher than usual at this time of year it has led to sprouts growing about a third larger than average,” the supermarket chain said in a press release.
Its sprouts have been grown by one of the UK’s largest suppliers of brassica, TH Clements, based in Benington, near Boston in Lincolnshire.
Richard Mowbray, commercial manager at TH Clements said: “In a normal year average sprouts are about 30mm in diameter and weigh around 15g and the ones we are harvesting already are absolute whoppers – over 50mm in diameter and weighing over 50g.”
Clements say that the cooler weather forecast for next week is welcome as it will slow the growth and help some of the leaves drop from the stalks which makes harvesting easier.
It’s estimated as much as 80% of total British sprout sales take place in the two week Christmas and New Year period.
This year British sprout growers are set to produce 70,000 tons of sprouts – the equivalent of 50 million sprouts or 10 million individual portions or the weight of 600 London buses.
New from UK supermarket chain Tesco in the ready-to-eat fruit category is this cut and peeled mix of kiwi fruit, strawberry and melon.
With a ‘1 of 5 a day’ reminder on the lid, the 130g serve of melon (40%), kiwi fruit (33%) and strawberry (27%) is priced at £1.20 (£9.24/kg) at Tesco.com.
Also labelled new, is Tesco’s Ploughman’s Snack Pack.
This 330g serve of fruit and vegetables with cheddar cheese, silverskin onions and a pot of pickle is priced at £2.00 (£6.07/kg).