Recently Tesco spent a small fortune on re-branding many of its food products. But the company is now being investigated by Trading Standards. Why? Because it’s made up a series of nice-sounding farm brands to give the impression the food is grown or reared on these farms. Which is not true. And in any case, the farms don’t even exist!!
The company has made up seven fictitious new brands. They all have wholesome British sounding names like ‘Boswell Farms’, ‘Suntrail Farms’, ‘Rosedene Farms’, Woodside Farms’ and ‘Willow Farms’. Yet many of the products are imported from Morocco, Spain and Chile.
On Tesco’s website it says the products from Willow Farms and others are: “reared or grown to specific standards from approved farms, growers or suppliers.” It sounds clear enough, but notice the weasel word “suppliers”. This is their sneaky way of conning their customers by use of clever language.
After some poor trading results last year, Tesco have spent a small fortune under their CEO Dave Lewis trying to improve its brand image. But just like the example of Chesterfield Football Club (see article dated 21.07.16) it’s all just an attempt to con the customers.
But we shouldn’t be too quick to condemn Tesco without mentioning that Aldi and Lidl have done similar things. And even the upmarket Marks and Spencer are guilty of this con trick. M&S has been criticised in the past for using ‘Lochmuir’ as the catch-all name for its salmon and ‘Oakham’ for its fresh chicken.
Aside from food, back in 2005 Marks and Spencer was fined £10,000 for stating that it’s ‘Collezione’ range of men’s clothes were "Made in Italy", when in fact most of the products were made in places like Egypt, Lithuania and Romania. But even after receiving this fine, they simply used the weasel words "Inspired by Italy" to get round the fact that they were effectively lying to their own customers.
There is no wonder customers become cynical and lose trust in these retailers. And as we have said numerous times on this website, TRUST is the most important aspect of customer loyalty. Lose it at your peril.