Morrisons reignites row over ‘misleading’ farm brands with ban

Supermarket chain has pledged that it will not sell ‘fake farm’ own brands despite success of the ranges at rivals including Tesco and Asda.

morrisons fake farm brands

Morrisons has promised shoppers that it will not sell fake farm own brands, reigniting a row over the use of the ranges at rivals including Tesco and Asda.

The supermarket chain has focused much of its marketing strategy around the relationship it has with suppliers and the strength of its supply chain. And tomorrow (10 August), it will host hundreds of real farmers in its stores who will be selling British food to customers.

As part of the strategy, Morrisons is banning fake farm brands. It says the own-label ranges are misleading because they “give an impression that food comes from a British farm, market or town when it may in fact be imported from overseas”. And it claims consumers agree, citing its own research which found that 70% of UK adults object to the use of fake farms and only want real place or farm names used on packaging.

Joe Mannion head of British Livestock at Morrisons, says: “Supermarket customers are sometimes presented with misleading images of farmers on their food and we believe that by meeting our real farmers, customers will see and value that we know where our food comes from.”

Morrisons’ move comes after both Asda and Tesco introduced own brand ranges named after fake farms. Asda reintroduced the Farm Stores branding it dropped in 2001 earlier this year to replace its Smart Price own label, which will be phased out by the end of next year.

Tesco, meanwhile, introduced seven new Farm brands, including Woodside Farms and Boswell Farms, in the meat, fruit and vegetable categories last year as an entry-level option in its own label range.

READ MORE: Mark Ritson: Tesco’s ‘fake farms’ are a real headache for its own-label strategy

The brands have proved controversial, with the National Farmers Union criticising the supermarket for using them as a marketing trick that could mislead consumers over where the food is from. Trading Standards also launched an investigation.

Nevertheless, they have been successful at driving sales. Kantar Worldpanel data estimates that Farm brands found their way into a quarter of Tesco baskets in the quarter after launch, helping to drive a sales rise. And CEO Dave Lewis has defended the marketing tactic, saying customers “absolutely get it”.

Hide Comments1 Show Comment
  • Glynn Fox 10 Aug 2017 at 3:57 pm

    How is misleading customers into thinking they are buying produce from a particular farm not false advertising? Any different to putting a VW sticker on a Skoda?

    Consumesr need more clarity on what they are buying and where it’s coming from, don’t get me started on Halal meat!

  • Post a comment

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here