To now, Asda has not used press advertising, focusing instead on using its online blog and the media to communicate its response to the crisis enveloping the food and retail industry.
Speaking at the supermarket’s full year results presentation, CEO Andy Clarke told Marketing Week: “I decided that until we we’re sure about what we wanted to say then it was wrong to say anything [in ads]. I wanted to get through the tests [first].”
“Talking openly to [the press] is part of this – I’m not holding anything back and we’re telling you what were doing. It’s important that you hear the words from me about what were’ doing, but when it’s appropriate [advertising] might be a route we’d take. I want to be sure we can share that with our customers in the right way.”
Clarke told journalists at the event Asda is going wider than the testing required by the Food Standards Agency no matter what the cost because “we want customers to be confident that everything they buy is what it says it is”.
He did not, however, rule out that some costs could be passed on to customers.
“This has dented trust and confidence but we will rebuild it … We’ll put the cost [of testing] to one side and we’ll manage the cost because we want confidence. It’s up to us to manage that cost. I can’t say it won’t be passed on but our core objective is not to pass it on the customers.”
Asda has so far found one of its products – a beef bolognese ready meal – contained 4.8 per cent horse meat and has removed it from sales. The supermarket is expecting further test results today and tomorrow.