- a blog about food and value

Tesco Change for Good

tesco-changePrices in the grocery sector continue to plummet. Today, Tesco announced the expansion of its Change for Good programme to nine Tesco shops in Dublin’s northside. The company promises a saving of up to 33% on your weekly shop, over 12,500 long-term price cuts, and a bigger choice of products than ever before. According to Tesco, an average trolley of goods has fallen from €151.75 to €96.46, a reduction of €55.29.

Change for Good has now been rolled out in one store in Cavan, nine in Dublin one in Donegal, two in Galway, two in Leitrim, three in Louth, two in Mayo, one in Roscommon, and one in Sligo. Tesco says it will soon be rolled all across Ireland. Why the delay?

Our readers have mixed feelings about Tesco’s changes. Nanazolie says:

Tesco Clare Hall have started displaying more British products. The shelves have completely changed. However, the prices haven’t yet. I went there on Saturday to see what it was really like. I must say I’ve mixed feelings about this: on one hand, I despise Tesco’s policy regarding Irish producers. I am no fan of Barry’s tea or Taytoo crisps, but I support the Irish economy. On the other hand, they now have a much wider choice, with products that I could only source from specialists shops before, like baking flours (granary, mixed grains, strong wholemeal….) and various types of yeasts, tinned vegetables (palm tree hearts, petits pois and carrots, creamed corn….), Gu and Artisan chocolates….

Tesco have come in for some criticism on both CheapEats, other websites, and in the mainstream press for its reliance on British imports. However, I suspect that the critics – including myself – just tend to have louder voices; those who don’t object to Tesco tend to be less inclined to speak out. If you shop in one of the chosen Tesco stores, have you noticed much of a difference? Are you a fan of Tesco, or do you think they’re the devil?

In today’s Irish Times, a new report from the Competition Authority is quoted:

On the one hand, retailers have been the focus of criticism over the price differential that has emerged between the Republic and Northern Ireland. On the other, retailers have also been criticised over their treatment of suppliers… The challenge from a public policy perspective is to discern legitimate actions by retailers, and indeed suppliers, from illegitimate ones.”

The same report suggests that higher food prices are a result of consumers not shopping around and being less price sensitive than other European countries. Is this a bit akin to former Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Harney’s infamous advice in 2003 that hard-pressed consumers should shop around? Is it up to us consumers to put pressure on retailers to reduce their prices?

Phew… so many issues. I’m going for a lie-down.


  1. I have disliked Tesco for a few years now. Does anyone remember the anti-nuclear postcards which the Irish government of the time supplied free to all shops in Ireland and the idea was that we, the citizens, would post the pre-addressed cards to Britain.
    It was possibly the Irish Govt’s best moment, the intention was to encourage us to let the British govt and nuclear industry know how we felt about being next door to nuclear power stations.
    Anyway Tesco was the only store in Ireland who refused to carry the cards and I have never really forgiven them.
    I will only shop in Tesco if I cannot find a reasonable alternative and usually I can the alternative.
    The fact that Ireland is Tesco’s richest fishing ground, so to speak, also angers me. Advertising does work and lots of people do believe that Tesco are cheaper than the other leading groceries.
    The fact that they make more money from the Irish stores than anywhere else that they operate shows that they clearly could be a great deal cheaper that they are!!

  2. Am I the only one fed up to the teeth with RTE endlessly going on about “Irish suppliers” and Tesco. It really seems that finally we had a period when the concentration was on getting value for consumers, it reverted straight back to form – a variation of what used to be called the “businessman’s dole” reasserted itself. Basically what “Irish Suppliers” means is a group of businesses who cannot compete, have supporters in the media, and expect the consumer to be forced to to buy their overpriced rubbish. The head of the Competition Authority made the very logical response, as in “if these guys cannot compete even in their home market” they really should not exist. The Irish economy need a food industry that exports not whines.

  3. I went to Tesco yesterday night and did the weekly shopping that I would normally do in Dunnes, to see what the story really was. I now understand why the queues were so long and why people go up Noth to shop (and then this only benefits the UK economy, at least if people shop here this will maintain employment). I bought Irish and foreign brands, the exact same that I would find at Dunnes. I expected my bill to come up to 50 euros, it was 37 euros (this doesn’t include fruits and vegs nor meat or fish that I buy locally). The biggest difference was on baby food: the Frutapura purees (4 pouches) normally cost 3.49 (same as Dunnes) and were down to 2.19. Wipes were reduced by 1 euros.
    Silly question may be, but if Tesco can do it, why can’t other supermarkets? There are loads of brands that not Irish in Dunnes or Superquinn.