- a blog about food and value

Tesco and the mystery of the disappearing brands

tescoirelandSome of you may have noticed a post in the Irish Times’ Pricewatch blog a few weeks back where Conor Pope asked if readers’ favourite brands had started disappearing from their local Tesco; some of you may even have left your feedback.  There was a follow-up piece on it in yesterday’s Pricewatch column, and it seems that it’s not just a few isolated incidents, but a widespread policy in Tesco stores to reduce the amount of choice available.  Some of the popular and well-regarded brands that are vanishing from the shelves are: De Cecco and Barilla pasta, the Discovery Mexican range, Sno and Killeen yogurts, the Linda McCartney vegetarian range and Barry’s Tea.  Irish products seem to be particularly hard hit, and the products that are given the bulk of the shelf space seem to be either huge monolithic brands or products from Tesco’s own Value or Finest ranges.

Tesco’s practice of squeezing producers was exposed by the Irish Times earlier this year, and this would seem to be part of the same tactic.  One positive, however, is that customer requests that a particular product be returned may actually be listened to:

According to retail sources, Tesco, more than most retailers its size, is responsive to complaints. “If the consumer complains loudly enough and often enough about the disappearance of a certain product then Tesco will listen,” one source told Pricewatch. So if the products you like have disappeared make sure your voice is heard. After all, every little helps.

Have you noticed the selection narrowing in your local Tesco? I rarely visit mine, due to an ongoing Tesco-avoidance policy, plus my local (a Tesco Express that’s open till 11pm) can be frankly quite scary.  But even with infrequent visits I’ve noticed the limited amount of choice available on standard items like tins of tomatoes, and that Old El Paso seem to have achieved a stranglehold on the Mexican ingredients market.


  1. We bought a Krups Dolce Gusto coffee machine in our local Tesco about 1,5 years ago. Within just a few months after we bought the machine, they stopped selling the Nescafe coffee pods to make the coffee so we could no longer use the machine. Response from Tesco Customer Care similar to what is stated above: put in a complaint with the Retail Manager and if more people do this they might restock them… Didn’t think this policy was showing great customer care, so I also contacted Krups who told me that the Dolce Gusto machine has not launched on the Irish market yet (!). So it looks like Tesco brought in a few machines from the UK and when Nescafe coffee pod sales weren’t high enough they stopped selling them.. Bit of a chicken-egg story: you can’t get your Nescafe coffee pod sales up if you only sell a handful of the coffee machines..
    We are obviously not impressed as we now have to buy our coffee on Ebay, which is more expensive and less convenient. One of many reasons we stopped shopping at Tesco.

  2. The irish times may have broken the story about t*sco asking for “hello” money but it is not news that t*sco dont support irish brands. Barrys started to complain about this over a year ago.

  3. I missed Linda McCartney’s range. Or any vegetarian range in Tescos. The amount on the shelves dwindled to a few crap fat-saturated potato, carrot and frozen pea burgers. Stopped going there altogether. But I’m lucky as I’ve dunnes, lidl and aldi within 2 minutes of each other nearby.

  4. I’ve noticed a reduced selection lately and an increased focus on tesco’s finest, especially in the wines.

    But what I’ve really noticed is large jumps in prices for many items. Products in the prices range of 2-3 euro often have 10-20c added/taken away.

    e.g twinnings hot chocolate was 1.55 for nearly a year, only to be raised to 3.55.

    follain jam was 1.96 for ever and a bit and now its 2.16-2.19.

    st dalfour jam was expensive before the ‘change for good campaign’, but now its the most expensive it has ever been. the raspberry and strawberry was selling for 1.71, yesterday it was about 2.30.

    the price of shower gels and other comestics have also increased lately.

  5. i have noticed gleneeven jam has disappeared. it was a delicious jam produced in co kilkenny.

    also the price of ryvita is ever changing. it used to be 99c now its over €2!

  6. My loathing of T*sco has been galvanised. My parents are staying with us here in Cork for a few days. Mum went to T*sco yesterday to get some things. One of the items she picked up was a cake that she loves and was stunned at the price. Her regular store is in Limerick city where the T*sco own brand cake is €1.99 and not on special offer. In Douglas in Cork she paid €2.99 for the exact same item. However, for some reason the price online is €1.99. I hate them I hate them I hate them!! (T*sco that is, not my parents…yet.)

  7. At the moment they are making a big deal that they have €2 off a large jar of Nescafe Gold coffee which they have on sale at €7.95 approx.
    It is €6.25 everywhere else.
    Much hate.

  8. one of my favourite yogurts went from 99c to 1.35 per pot, over night! how does that make sense?

  9. Tesco have been behaving in an extremely negative manner for years now. They have constantly “bullied” Irish brands by demanding big sums of cash in order to guarantee that these brands remain on the shelves.

    In the case of Tea they deliberately set out to mislead Irish consumers that Lyons is a Irish brand which it is not. Lyons are owned by Unilever. There are only 2 Irish Tea brands, Barry’s Tea and Bewley’s Tea.

    As an Irish person working in an marketing environment I try my best to be brand loyal and a supporter of Love Irish Food. Tesco pay lip service to this. Their behaviour to Irish suppliers is downright rude, aggressive and clearly not in the spirit of any form of respect.

  10. Tesco’s new slogan should be:

    “For more enjoyment and greater efficiency, consumption is being standardized. We are sorry … ”

    Now guess the movie… 🙂

    @Barry Dooley: didn’t know that about Lyon’s tea not being irish. I always thought there were two Lyon’s brands one english and the other (the tea) being Irish.

  11. Vote with your feet. Shop somewhere else!

  12. ah, tea is rotten anyway!!!! Bottom line, you buy a product if it’s good, not just because it’s Irish!