This series offers the nation’s most ambitious
cooks the chance of a lifetime – to turn their
signature recipes into winning products fit for the
shelves of Tesco, the largest supermarket in
Britain. Every week, four hopefuls meet their
mentors and test their new dishes on the public.
The products featured in the series range from
left-field concepts like ‘soup in a bun’, to more
traditional fare such as meat pies and some hearty
British faggots.
Last year, Tesco broke the £46billion revenue
barrier, taking one pound in every seven spent on
UK high streets. This year, the supermarket giant
is giving a group of amateur cooks an
unprecedented opportunity – to share space with
market-leading brands on the shelves of Britain’s
biggest retailer. The item that will stake a claim in
this multi-billion pound industry could be a simple
homemade dish, but there is only one contract up
for grabs. As the 20 contestants battle it out over
the coming weeks, they will be guided by two
experts at the top of their game.
The first mentor to help the contestants in their
bid to create a successful product is Allan
Leighton, one of Britain’s most formidable
businessmen. Allan began his illustrious career at
Mars before going on to turn around the fortunes
of Asda, later becoming President and CEO of
Wal-Mart Europe. He is currently chairman of the
Royal Mail Group plc. The second mentor in the
series is pre-eminent chef and award-winning
restaurateur Simon Rimmer.
Viewers are given the opportunity to see exactly
what goes into creating the food we buy – from
perfecting the concept to testing the feasibility,
sourcing the ingredients, refining the recipes,
facing the Tesco taste-test panel, scaling-up for
mass production and ultimately filling the
supermarket shelves.
Supermarkets pour thousands of pounds into
developing the products they sell in a process that
can take years. However, these amateurs have
just two weeks to learn the trade and prepare a
pitch to be delivered to Tesco’s retail
powerbrokers. “You’re going to hear things you
don’t want to hear,” warns Simon Rimmer. But
before Simon can help his protégés perfect their
recipes, the products are evaluated by two Tesco
food developers – Stephanie Bacon and Nicky
Gorman, who are happy to provide realistic and
constructive feedback.
Having listened to the experts’ advice, carried
out their own research and refined their products,
the contestants go up against the real Tesco
testing panel to learn if their creations meet the
industry’s high standards for retail development.
At this point, the weakest product and contestant
is eliminated.
The final task for the remaining contestants is to
pitch their ideas to the Tesco buyers – powerful
business executives responsible for deciding
what food the nation buys. It has been an eyeopening
experience for the cooks, but this is only
the beginning of a long, hard journey if they are to
successfully break into Tesco.

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