breaking into tesco

This series offers the nation’s most ambitiouscooks the chance of a lifetime – to turn theirsignature recipes into winning products fit for theshelves of Tesco, the largest supermarket inBritain. Every week, four hopefuls meet theirmentors and test their new dishes on the public.The products featured in the series range fromleft-field concepts like ‘soup in a bun’, to moretraditional fare such as meat pies and some heartyBritish faggots.Last year, Tesco broke the £46billion revenuebarrier, taking one pound in every seven spent onUK high streets. This year, the supermarket giantis giving a group of amateur cooks anunprecedented opportunity – to share space withmarket-leading brands on the shelves of Britain’sbiggest retailer. The item that will stake a claim inthis multi-billion pound industry could be a simplehomemade dish, but there is only one contract upfor grabs. As the 20 contestants battle it out overthe coming weeks, they will be guided by twoexperts at the top of their game.The first mentor to help the contestants in theirbid to create a successful product is AllanLeighton, one of Britain’s most formidablebusinessmen. Allan began his illustrious career atMars before going on to turn around the fortunesof Asda, later becoming President and CEO ofWal-Mart Europe. He is currently chairman of theRoyal Mail Group plc. The second mentor in theseries is pre-eminent chef and award-winningrestaurateur Simon Rimmer.Viewers are given the opportunity to see exactlywhat goes into creating the food we buy – fromperfecting the concept, to testing the feasibility,sourcing the ingredients, refining the recipes,facing the Tesco taste-test panel, scaling-up formass production and ultimately filling thesupermarket shelves.Supermarkets pour thousands of pounds intodeveloping the products they sell in a process thatcan take years. However, these amateurs havejust two weeks to learn the trade and prepare apitch to be delivered to Tesco’s retailpowerbrokers. “You’re going to hear things youdon’t want to hear,” warns Simon Rimmer. Butbefore Simon can help his protégés perfect theirrecipes, the products are evaluated by two Tescofood developers – Stephanie Bacon and NickyGorman, who are happy to provide realistic andconstructive feedback.Having listened to the experts’ advice, carriedout their own research and refined their products,the contestants go up against the real Tescotesting panel to learn if their creations meet theindustry’s high standards for retail development.At this point, the weakest product and contestantis eliminated.The final task for the remaining contestants is topitch their ideas to the Tesco buyers – powerfulbusiness executives responsible for decidingwhat food the nation buys. It has been an eye-opening experience for the cooks, but this is onlythe beginning of a long, hard journey if they are tosuccessfully break into Tesco.

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