Some 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.