January 27, 2009

Pluck off, Tesco.

Not everything about Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “Chicken Out” campaign is perfect.

Getting people to pay more for the same amount of food is a tough ask, especially in a recession.

And he’s only ever persuaded the ‘working class’ to swap to better quality chickens by showing them the inside of a chicken shed.

But last night’s one-off update on his campaign made me pretty angry at my own supermarket-of-choice, Tesco.

Anyone who watched the original series will know they were less than helpful in providing an on-screen interview.

Last night, he finally got one, but it was with Tesco PR woman Darshini David. A former BBC business presenter, she came across abysmally. I suspect her job is mostly to be Tesco’s TV ‘face’, and if last night was anything to go on, she’s rubbish at it.

She claimed Tesco are ‘leading the way’ on chicken welfare.

No, they clearly are not. Sainsbury’s, the Co-op and Waitrose are light-years ahead of them, and it’s clear for anyone to see.

Why won’t Tesco admit on its packaging that chickens are grown indoors (instead of using subtle, yet blatant, marketing speak to imply otherwise)? Darshini: “We don’t want to patronise them”.

Is the nutritional information section patronising? No.

Is it patronising to give us a choice between ‘Free Range Eggs’ and ‘Barn Eggs’? Apparently not.

Is Darshini David patronising? You betcha.

The point Hugh F-W should have made in the interview (but sadly didn’t) is that many people are only aware of Britain’s chicken welfare standards because they’ve seen his show or read newspaper articles related to it.

Unfortunately that’s a very small majority of the British population. Only 2.5 million people watched last night’s show. I would imagine more than half of last night’s viewers were middle-class people who probably read The Guardian or The Independent.

So what of the other 57.5m people in the UK? Tesco doesn’t want to patronise them, but they don’t mind if they’re in complete ignorance either.

I’m seriously tempted to shop elsewhere having seen last night’s arrogant and disgraceful performance.


- 6 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. You say only a small proportion of the population are aware; even if people there were more, how many do you think would actually be bothered enough to change their habits? I watched the original programme last year (or whenever it was) and found it entertaining and interesting, but it didn’t make me want to refuse to buy anything other than free-range.

    Quite the opposite in fact. I actually think Hugh seemed quite patronising in that show; he kept going on about how the estate he was doing the free-range experiment with was the down-trodden, working-class, “rough end of town”. And just as with all these angry young people claiming to be “green” protesters who try to indoctrinate us with sustainable this and carbon that, I absolutely refuse to be dictated to by the smug, self-righteous left proclaiming they know what’s best for us. And I’m afraid to me, despite the obvious good intention behind the programme, that was how Hugh came across.

    27 Jan 2009, 16:09

  2. We are Tesco, we do what we want. La la la la la we’re not listening.

    In other news, on a trip back to my parents over Christmas, I was helping mum do the shopping in ASDA, when we passed their egg section. A huge skin-headed tracksuit-wearing man with a strong estuary Essex accent told his wife, “Don’t want that fecking barn crap, want free range innit.” I lol’d inside.

    28 Jan 2009, 13:10

  3. Rob Slack

    Tesco: Darshini David is a very intelligent woman. She was excellent as a BBC business/economics presenter. As PR face of Tesco she was appalling. Probably she knows she is peddling crap (she didn’t seem genuine, esp. when pointing out the label did not show a chicken under the tree) Absolute crap, just like some the BBC’s presenters who seem to have replaced her. That was off topic.

    Closer to topic, Tesco seems to me to be “less straightforward” than it might be in many matters.

    31 Jan 2009, 20:56

  4. Andy

    Darshini David is a deluded, inaccurate liar and terrible at her job. She appears for some unknown reason to be at the very top of the ‘speaking on telly’ team pedalling non-truths on behalf of her employer. I will never agree with what she does but in this case I feel for Tesco: They pay her a salary and she is clearly wasting their time. An automated voice mailbox would have done a drastically more competent job. I might buy a share and move for a shareholders resolution that she is sacked. She has put me off Tesco entirely.

    31 Jan 2009, 21:53

  5. ooshdoosh

    i agree with you

    24 Feb 2009, 14:30

  6. ooshdoosh

    oops sorry was just testing my blog….. yes i couldnt agree with you more,... wow ,.tesco really came across as a big giant money making monster~ ka ching))) ka ching)) ka ching)))~ no interest whatsoever on the chickens or their welfare. their a bloody disgrace and have lost a serious loyal costomer here~ when i think of tesco now all i can visualize is: MONEY MONEY MONEY GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE ~ no wonder the world is in the sh*t if the majority of us are giving our money to these greeeeeedy gods,.. we have become slaves to their pricing lure. ha ha well not me im afraid~ im spending my money in other supermarkets,..supporting free range chickens and free range eggs which i cant really afford but scrape it together rather than eat a roast chicken that suffered in such shameful conditions,... those poor intense farmed chickens, death will be a relief to them :(
    thanks 4 reading this~ very angry and sad “ex tesco” shopper and roast chicken lover!

    24 Feb 2009, 14:48


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