As a food writer and budget recipe blogger with a keen eye for bargains, I have spent the last six years meticulously tracking the basics and value ranges at the supermarkets, one recipe, one receipt, at a time. I have watched Sainsburys Basics stock cubes more than triple in price, and Asda Smartprice ones disappear altogether. I have lobbied Sainsburys to bring back their £1 stew pack of twenty assorted vegetables, with limited success, and now, I am watching the Tesco Value range disintegrate before our eyes. But curb your panic buttons, because this looks – for now – like a simple rebranding exercise. Whether it’s to combat the ‘miserable packaging’ of the plain white labels (I rather like it myself), or to pose a cheery alternative tolife on a budget, or to bolster a ‘British means British’ food paranoia that seems to be dawning around the realities of Brexit, remains to be seen. In the meantime, I’ve hunted down the ‘new’ value range, euphemistic and in disguise, so you bargain hunters know what to look out for.
The Value vegetable ranges are now branded as ‘Redmere Farms‘, and the fruit conjuring up images of jolly, red-cheeked fruit pickers enjoying a day in the sun under the banner of ‘Suntrail Farms‘. The range is actually slightly broader than the previous Value range used to be, including sweet potatoes, spinach, nectarines and plums alongside stalwart cabbage, carrots, onions and spuds. This increase in range, and decrease in price, can only be a good thing for consumers looking to make their money go a little further, but it’s worth noting that despite appearances, these fruits and vegetables are also sourced from outside the UK. Not a problem for me; I welcome a global economy, but perhaps something to keep an eye on if the scare stories about Brexit borders edge closer to a reality. For the full ‘Redmere Farms’ and ‘Suntrail Farms’ range, click here.
Down into the ambient aisles, the Value range is now touted as the colourful (and slightly Morrisons-esque) ‘Hearty Food Co.’ This range has – at the time of researching – 58 separate products, again far more than the previous Everyday Value range did. (It was 43 last week when I started peeling my eyes over it, so will keep watching to see what else is added!) These include 20p spaghetti, 30p penne pasta, fish fingers, To see the full Hearty Food Co range, click here.
Another new label for my eagle eyes is the small ‘Stockwells‘ range, in vintage-inspired old fashioned curly fonts that wouldn’t look out of place in a war museum, which I suppose is part of their appeal in an increasingly patriotic country. There are only a handful of items in this range, all corner shop classics, perhaps to coincide with the rollout of the new smaller ‘Jacks’ stores, but I am simply guessing! You can find baked beans at the same 23p price tag as the former Everyday Value can, plain and self raising flour, tuna, tea, 20p gravy, and more. To see the full ‘Stockwells’ range, click here.
The ready meal range is also bold and dare I say it, very well designed packaging reminiscent of the upmarket ‘Cook’ range, but at 20 percent of the price! There are around 16 in the Hearty Food range; lasagne comes in at 65p, so does the mac n cheese, chilli con carne and others… and there’s a chicken curry in the pipeline too, by the looks of things. For the full ready meal range, click here.
Growers Harvest is another new brand under the low-price Tesco umbrella, with mixed frozen veg replacing the old Everyday Value packaging, peas and sweetcorn cheaper than the former range, but orange and apple juice sitting alongside it. Keep your eyes peeled too for the apple and blackcurrant juice, which seems to be a new addition (I’m happy to be corrected if it isn’t!) For the full Growers Harvest range, click here.
The Everyday Value range still contains some 81 products, including some tinned goods and household items; I suppose it’s difficult to find a banner that encompasses sparkling water, kitchen roll, kidney beans, chicken noodles and tinned sweetcorn, and by keeping some of the range intact, they allow for a transition period while savvier shoppers work out where the rest of the bargains are. It will be interesting to see whether these are phased out gradually, absorbed into the Hearty Food Co or any of the soft British countryside scenery, or whether they remain, staunch in their bright white livery and doodle drawings, a nod to the coarser realities of austerity, and a hark back to the days of a completely white-labelled shopping basket, every item indeterminate from the other as I scrabbled in cupboards to find the one I needed.
I’ll be watching the rest of the ranges with interest; at the moment I am refreshing the links to the ranges every day to see what gets added and what gets taken away, so if anything seriously good comes up or any prices wildly fluctuate, you can count on me to let you know.
Journalists note: Compiling this list was a lot of hours of work and research, for which I have not been paid. If you want to use it, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or at least have the good grace to quote me in any articles that you write about it, thankyou.
This post was not sponsored by Tesco, (chance would be a fine thing!), but I may earn a small fee if you click on the links or purchase any of the items. That’s not why I wrote it; I am genuinely a complete nerd about tracking budget food ranges and sharing bargains, but I do have to let you know that I may get a penny or two if you are tempted into some budget beans. Hoorah.