Asda unveils £100m brand make-over

THE unveiling of Asda’s Chosen By You range saw chief executive Andy Clarke take centre stage as he claimed the £100m project would be “game changing” because it was the first time a supermarket had put so much time and money into updating its mid-range products.

More than 40,000 consumers across the UK took part in taste testing as the supermarket giant sought to add some extra flavour to its own label food and drink brand of 3,500 products.

The current range is worth sales of around £9bn a year already but the top brass at Asda believes it has more potential and was in need a of a massive overhaul.

After a nine month project, the company gave birth to 500 new products as well as recipe tweaks to others and a re-think on packaging which saw an army of designers trying to make the range as attention grabbing as possible.

“This is a game changing imprint because it gives our customers control,” Clarke said at the launch in Marylebone.

“Customers said they tasted the difference. This is a real watershed.”

“No other retailer has moved so aggressively to seek not just the counsel but the consent of the very people who buy and eat their products.”

Clarke, who took up his post in May, described how the taste tests had been held up and down the land – including in church halls – as he sought to emphasise the family nature of the company’s dealings.

He repeatedly mentioned the word “quality” and said that it was just as important as keeping prices as low as possible.

Clarke, formerly chief operating officer at the company, said Asda’s own brand,
sandwiched as it is between the cheaper Smart Price brand and the more expensive Extra
Special items, was losing its identity, despite still flying off the shelves.

The company gave no projections on how many extra sales they hoped to generate through the re-launch but said the taste tests had revealed a wealth of information about UK consumers – including the fact they like toffee rather than chocolate in their desserts and that spicy jalapeno hummus is not to the liking of most shoppers. A massive TV advertising campaign is due to start next week, but will not feature any famous faces.

That is in-keeping with Clarke’s constant refrain that: “We are putting the people of Britain at the centre of this.” The Chosen by You range hit the shelves in Asda’s 377 stores yesterday. While one executive said the project was aimed at resurrecting an “invisible brand”.

Clarke will be hoping the chain can turn the re-branding into something that can keep the tills ringing as well as being given plaudits for quality, which he also seeks.