Tesco CEO acknowledges its brand must push responsibility ‘even further’

As Tesco launches its first campaign to talk about its commitment to tackling food waste, its chief executive Dave Lewis says its customers now expect more of an ethical focus from the supermarket giant.

Tesco wants to be a brand that is “more purpose driven” as it launches its first press and social campaign talking about its commitment to tackling food waste.

The campaign focuses on Tesco’s primary goal that no food safe for human consumption will go to waste within its UK operations by the end of 2017. Although Tesco has been on a journey to combat food waste since 2009, the campaign marks a bold step change for the supermarket’s marketing, which is typically focused on food or in-store features and services.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Tesco CEO Dave Lewis admits there has been a realisation internally that the brand must now push its ethical causes “even further”.

He tells Marketing Week: “We’ve been at the forefront on reducing waste for quite some time. Before my time here, Tesco was the first retailer to publish an audited end-to-end food waste report back in 2013; we’re now in our fourth year of that. But yeah, I’ve acknowledged we now have to pick this up and push it even further [through our communications].”

According to data from Lewis’s old employer Unilever, 33% of adults would buy a product from a brand because they believe it is doing social or environmental good. That equates to a €966bn (£817bn) untapped opportunity, given that the size of the marketing for sustainable goods is €2.5tr (£2.1tr).

And Lewis admits to Marketing Week these findings have inspired his thinking when it comes to Tesco’s renewed push into combatting food waste.

He adds: “I’m aware of the Unilever report and it proves what consumers need now is trust in the business behind a brand and we want our customers to know Tesco will behave responsibly on their behalf.

“We want to become a brand that is purpose driven as ultimately this builds trust and is exactly what any customer should expect from a business like ours.”

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  • Jonathan Cahill 3 Mar 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Maybe 33% said they would. But do they?

    It is delusional to think that behaviour is the same expressed intentions. It’s usually much less, in one study only 4% did what 50% had said they intended to do.

    Get real!

  • malcolm wicks 3 Mar 2017 at 4:38 pm

    You have a point Jonathan but I look at it the other way round. I try not to shop at stores that I think are wasteful or financially dubious. In other words I, like many people, shop at stores that I trust. Tesco have been working to improve and build trust but need to get some more daylight between them and their competitors. Done well this initiative could help Tesco do that.

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