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.