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CheapEats Exclusive: “This is why you will now be noticing increases in our product prices”: A Revealing Email from Tesco

tescoirelandToday, we’re publishing a surprising series of correspondence between Tesco and CheapEats reader Audrey O’Byrne. The emails, all sent between October 10 and  October 13, confirm that many of Tesco’s prices will be rising with the end of the Change for Good campaign. It coincides with yesterday’s news that Tesco is more expensive in Northern Ireland than in the Republic.

We’ve deleted some extraneous information from the emails – formalities, apologies for the delay in responding, and the name of the customer service manager in question. Many thanks to Audrey for sending this in.

Below, Audrey queries why the prices reduced as part of Tesco’s “Change for Good campaign have increased in price:

Dear Sir

I am wondering if Tesco has abandoned its Change for Good campaign.  Over the last few weeks I have been shopping in your store in Douglas, Cork and I have noticed that prices that were reduced in your original Change for Good campaign in August have now been increased again.  I see from an article published in the Irish Times of August 29th that Mr Kenny Jacobs, Marketing Director of Tesco Ireland stated that Tesco reached an agreement with Unicef whereby Tesco will no longer use the term “Change for Good” after September 11th 2009, however it does not state that along with not using the term Tesco will not be using the “change for good” prices either.  Several items that I purchase have gone back up in price since they were reduced during this campaign.

I would be grateful if someone could clarify the situation on prices for me.

Yours faithfully

Audrey O’Byrne

Because, comes the reply, it was all just a marketing promotion, and “change for good” actually means change for a few months:

Dear Audrey

In relation to your query regarding the change for good campaign, I can advise that regrettably this has now ended in our stores since the start of September.

Therefore this is why you will now be noticing a increases [sic] in our product prices. I hope that this helps to clarify things for you.

If I can help you any further please don’t hesitate to contact me at quoting [code number deleted].

Kind Regards
[name deleted]
Customer Service Manager
Tesco Customer Service

Audrey, agog, asks:

Dear Mr [name omitted]

Thank you for your response.

Could I ask you were you advertising something as “change for good” when in fact it was only for a few weeks? Surely that is misleading to customers.  What did Tesco mean by “change for good”?

Kind regards
Audrey O’Byrne

Tesco’s mealy-mouthed response?

Dear Audrey

Firstly, I would like to thank you for your response to my email correspondence.

I would like to apologise that you found the wording of our change for good campaign misleading, please let me assure you that this was certainly not our intention to mislead any of our customers.

In relation to the wording, I feel that this was meaning a change for the better, as our customers were able to make considerable savings during this promotion. Regardless of this, I can still understand why you and other customers may have found the wording of this misleading.

Therefore I can assure you that I will fully log your comments and they will be passed to the relevant department, to take on board for any future wording of promotions.

Once again my apologies and if I can help you any further please don’t hesitate to contact me at quoting [code omitted-
Kind Regards
[name omitted]
Customer Service Manager
Tesco Customer Service

Audrey was flabbergasted. Did he really just say that? Speaking to, Audrey said: “I thought Tesco were making a really good effort to give customers in the South a good deal, I suppose I should have known it was too good to be true. I couldn’t believe the reply I got to be honest.  Whoever thought up that slogan was very clever, or did they just poach it straight from Unicef?”

So there you go. It’s not that their Change for Good campaign was misleading at all. No, the problem is you, their tiny-brained customers, are far too unsophisticated to understand the linguistic nuances of the word “good.” Why, next time, you should give it more thought before you cross Tesco’s threshold.

It’s time now for a genuinely independent, properly funded consumer watchdog, not the defanged, government-funded National Consumer Agency.

What do you think of this revelation from Tesco?


  1. Ah, the subtilities of the English language!!! I think this should be sent to Price Watch and other newspapers, they will love that!

  2. Forgive me, but I TOLD YOU SO!

  3. Now that explains why the chickpeas went up in price in recent weeks and that I’m not mad for noticing and wondering why!

  4. Glad I don’t shop in Tesco’s much! Think I’ll shop a bit less now.

  5. Great post guys. Very sneaky the way they have got this under the radar (up to now).

    The campaign itself is incredibly misleading in that their ads and the associated PR at the time clearly gave the perception that the price changes were being implemented in order to PERMANENTLY address the issue re the gap in prices between North and South.

    If that wasn’t in fact the case, they should have been more upfront about it. They would have avoided, what is now likely to be, some very negative PR.

    Negative PR for very large companies like Tesco tends to have a relatively bigger effect than positive PR.

  6. That is the definition of misleading. How does ‘for good’ actually mean ‘for the better’. You could knock me over with a feather.

    Spotted yesterday in Tescos Baggot St, Dublin 2: Price cut: Cranberry Juice reduced from €1.17 to €1.19. Oh dear.

  7. The ‘Change for Good’ slogan is registered to Unicef which is why all references to it have now been removed.

  8. I haven’t stepped into a Tesco in months, especially snice the “Change for Good”/ or s”teal business from Irish producers” campaign started. They’ve proven beyond doubt now that they are all about marketing and not concerned about the customer.

  9. I haven’t stepped into a Tesco in months, especially since the “Change for Good”/ or “steal business from Irish producers” campaign started. They’ve proven beyond doubt now that they are all about marketing and not concerned about the customer.

  10. I wonder if they’ll start restocking Moy Park free range chicken now that the promotion is over, instead of their own brand (and horrible) version. Doubt it, somehow.

    Haven’t shopped there since July – and Dunnes is proving cheaper.

  11. From an August Irish Times article on prices creeping up during the CfG campaign: “At the time of the revamp in early May, the retailer said the new prices were long-term structural changes, not promotional prices, aimed at stemming the flow of shoppers across the Border. It stated in newspaper advertisements that prices had been reduced ‘for good’.” If the campaign was always planned to end in September, as the correspondance above states, why was this never advertised in stores as all other promotions are? Can we take it, then, that Tesco are openly trying to move back towards reaping higher profits from Irish customers than from anyone else ( What a ridiculous response, and a downright insulting ‘explanation’ for calling their short-term promotion Change for Good.

  12. This is a complete u-turn on their original message, and I’d go as far as saying that they lied to their customers. They clearly meant ‘for good’ to mean ‘permanently’ and not ‘for the better’ if you read the following direct quotes from Tesco representatives:

    ‘Consumers have changed. The Irish consumer now wants the best price possible and that means we need to change the fundamentals of how we do business. So this is not a short term campaign. We need to stay cheap to keep customers; Ireland is in a different place and it’s not going back.” marketing director Kenny Jacobs

    ‘I”m glad to tell you today that Tesco is the first supermarket in Ireland to put a line in the sand and say enough”s enough and bring a real change that Ireland”s been asking for. I”m also proud to say that Tesco Cavan is as far north as you need to go.’

    That was the message delivered by Tesco”s Cavan store manager, Tony Neutz when he unveiled the new-look Tesco store yesterday (Tuesday) promising reductions of up to 30% for shoppers on their groceries.

    Wriggle out of that!!

  13. It’s absolutely a lie – the only way I’ll accept that it was an honest misunderstanding (notwithstanding the numerous publicised quotes from Tesco representatives stating the opposite) is if they come out and admit that their marketing slogans are chosen by a 5 year old with no grasp of (a) the idea that one word can have multipple meanings and (b) the notion of looking at things from another – in this case, the customers’ – perspective. In that case, I’d still be surprised that the 5 year old came up with this particular, so-valuable-that-Tesco-decided-to-fight-with-UNICEF-over-it slogan, given that if they really meant it to mean ‘a change for the better’ as the reply to Audrey says, it seems to me that saying ‘A Change For The Better’ would get to the point quicker and with much less ambiguity.

  14. ‘A Temporary Change For The Better” would have been more correct. Dunnes and SuperValu with the ocassional purchases from Lidl and Aldi are the only places I shop now. Tesco can rot in hell.

  15. Since Tesco opened in Bettystown, the pricing of items on the shelves can be far from accurate. Never cheaper when scanned than advertised on the shelves. Is this incompetence by staff or a crafty ploy by Tesco ? I always get my refund if I notice after paying but who wants to constantly check receipts or have the time to do so and return the item.

  16. aha.. so I guess to avoid any more misunderstanding they will be billing this as.. em.. “reversion to evil?”

  17. Used to shop in Tesco all the time when I first moved out of home. Was handy – close to where I lived and when I didn’t have a car, the delivery service suited me. 3 years later, it’s Lidl for the staples and Dunnes for things I can’t get in Lidl. Only go to Tesco when I’m stuck. This revelation means that I’ll go out of my way to avoid Tesco from now on.

  18. that one Audrey is some women

  19. I wish supermarkets were forced by legislation to publish a weekly database of all products in their store with EAN bar code, name, vat rate and price. In that way websites like yours, or any citizen that cares, can keep a closer eye on trends, and allow consumers to optimize their shopping. This will ultimately force a bit of competition into the market.

    Technically this would be trivial to implement. Of course they will cite “commercial secrets” as a reason not to. But if every major retailer was forced to do this it would level the playing field.

  20. Wow, incredible. Hard to believe they admitted it so openly.

  21. Arragh, storm in a tea cup people. Prices may rise as well as fall. If you don’t want to shop in Tesco, don’t. If you do, do.

  22. Went to Tesco last night to see it for myself. I bought 5 items which I’d normally buy in Dunnes on my weekly shop. 4 f them Irish. The price difference was marginal, but still on Tesco’s side. I’ll still buy them in Dunnes because the price difference is so minimal. However, baby food is still much cheaper at Tesco than Dunnes (2.19 euros on 4 pouches Frutapura fruit puree; 3.80 at Dunnes) and I cannot afford to ignore such a significant difference. Unless the prices really go up, that is

  23. If your concern is price, then by all means shop in the cheapest retailer, be it T**co or Sainsburys. If you want to support Irish jobs and producers, then no matter where you shop, look for the manufacturers’ code. It’s a code with two letters, a four digits code, followed by a territory code like EC. If it doesn’t start with IE, then don’t buy it; it wasn’t made in Ireland. Simples. If you have a look at the code on Irish lamb in T**co you’ll se it was slaughtered in the UK. More shady dealings.

    Handily enough, it will also tell you who makes own brand things, like Kerrygold also make Dunnes own label butter, and Clonakilty Creameries make the Specially Selected yoghurts in Aldi.

  24. Claire, where do you find the manufacturer code? I bought Glenisk organic yogurts, I know they are Irish, but cannot see that code anywhere on the packaging?

  25. Its probably on the plastic lid, on milk and yoghurts its usually printed in ink on the lid. Failing that it may be on the cardboard that kept the pack together.

  26. PS In most products its in a little circle.

  27. The little oval with the letters IE and a number within indicate that the premises of production is approved for EU trade (i.e. they can sell their products anywhere in the EU). Locally produced products destined for the local market only will not bear this mark.
    Very useful tip on the matching up of approval codes to figure out who makes generic products Claire, thanks!

  28. Here’s the link for the codes. Kerrygold UK supply the cheddar to Lidl, Aldi and Tesco – LK 002.

    The Milk Hygiene one is the one you want. You’ll notice Tesco Organic yogs are made by Glenisk. For Glenisk you should see it on their cardboard packaging.

    Also if you want the EU ones look here…

  29. Thats the one Trish. I dont get what you mean by the local products though?

  30. Im not sure what you mean regarding locally produced products? If that was the case then we would never see IE codes here.

  31. Sorry for double post. :O

  32. To be honest anyone living in Ireland and shopping in Tesco’s needs their heads examined. Agree with the “told ya so!” comment. I never have and never will shop there preferring my revenue to be disrtibuted amongst Irish Suppliers and contractors. Has anyone reminded that Marty Whelan that he shouldnt be taking the pieces of silver?

    Love Irish and buy irish products.

  33. Hi all,

    I’d like to clarify a few things about this. The email that Audrey received from the Tesco customer service team was a mistake and the facts are not correct. Apologies for any confusion on this.

    The ‘Change for Good’ advertising campaign has finished but the price cuts we have introduced are here to stay. Tesco is on a price crusade for Irish customers and we have dropped over 20,000 prices this year. This isn’t just an advertising campaign, we have changed our business model to stay cheap for customers.

    Thats why we are seeing more than 100,000 customers shop with us every week and thats why the NCA and RTE’s Trolley Watch have both reported on the prices we have cut and the difference it makes for our customers.

    Cheap Eats, you’ll always get them at Tesco !

    Kenny Jacobs
    Marketing Director, Tesco

  34. Well Mr. Jacobs,

    If the price cuts are permanent, how come people, including Audrey, have noticed that prices that were cut have now increased again?

  35. Hi Carrie,

    of the 12,500 prices we cut in the ‘Change for Good’ campaign, a small number have gone up in price and a similar number have come down even more. The vast majority of these prices have remained the same.
    I can give you our committment that every week we will beat our competitors on price and we will keep leading the market down for customers.


  36. So let me get this straight, according to Mr Jacobs the price cuts introduced in the ‘Change for Good’ campaign “are here to stay” – yet he later admits that what they actually mean is that “a small number have gone up in price”. Tesco really shouldn’t promise permanent price cuts when they cannot deliver it in reality.

  37. Kenny,
    While I’m no admirer of Tesco’s unique methods of pricing and supplying information (up, DOWN WITH ADVERTISEMENTS, up, up, DOWN) – not just in this case, but in my overall experience – I do appreciate your responding to this thread. Please take our comments on board – we want greater clarity on pricing and policies, and less of the marketing jingoism. For example: for the sake of putting your ‘20,000 price cuts this year’ and ‘12,500 cuts since the summer CfG campaign’ into context, exactly how many individual product lines do you stock in Ireland?

  38. A new Tesco Express opened in Cork near lots of student accomodation. A can of Druids is €1.56 there while it is €1.49 in every other Tesco. I also noticed a bag of Taytos was 62c in this shop and around 58c in others.. No doubt there are other products that they are charging more just because we are students!It may only be a few cents but it all adds up!suspicious…

  39. Katie, I think it’s all Tesco Express stores that charge a bit more. It may be due with rents being higher in the city? Or…. just charging you for the convenience

  40. Kenny, the fact that so many people shop with you doesn’t make you right or better value, it makes you popular. Millions fly with Ryanair and eat in McDonalds, it does not make you morally better off, just financially.

    As for the Marty Whelan comment, the poor man was shafted by RTE, he can work where he likes. Ian Dempsey, that fat lad from Bachelors Walk and James Slaphead Nesbitt also do ads for T**sco.

  41. PS Shouldnt students be shopping in Lidl anyway?

  42. God loves a trier Kenny! Do I detect the sound of some serious back peddling?

    Oh lets get back to shopping in the local shop and let them have a little ‘change for good’ and maybe we’ll end up befefiting too!

  43. Yeah maybe it is just the fact that it’s an express store, convenient for them that they opened an express one practically just for students though isn’t it? Tesco is cheaper for a lot of things and is now so convenient (2mins walk) so we save on any travel costs. People just need to be wary when shopping there. I would go to Lidl but i don’t even know where the nearest one is! I keep an eye on all the special offers online though and do shop around when possible 🙂

  44. i have just set up a new blog and would like to provide an up to date news source on cheap products in ireland etc. College student so would appreciate if anyone took the time to view it and comment.its in its early stages but will prove interesting in time.

    Gcd recessionary shopping product/hawk

  45. Have just set up a product review site as part of a college assignment. i would appreciate if anyone took the time to have a look and comment on it or any product advise i have.
    This is the blog title

    Coinnigh trádála na hÉireann Fair.Thank tú agus Merry Christmas.

  46. There already is one, its called and

  47. I have worked in retail many years ago. I have worked both within and outside of Ireland, and with out question, we are the most gullible nation in Europe regarding prices. This means the chains can lie to us. Tesco is cheaper elsewhere ONLY because of competition, period. Even Lidl is cheaper in Germany!!!… They know they can mark up for Ireland. The only thing that will bring Tesco’s prices down is if we all switch to other stores that offer better prices. Tesco senior management in the UK will be quick to drop prices permanently if we become continuously disloyal shoppers. Time to switch to better value!

  48. The only reason I shop in Tesco is because they CONSTANTLY mess up their pricing and have an inherent hatred of their customers that manifests itself in poor customer relations. The NO QUIBBLE is my reason for shopping there and I only buy Irish brands from them.