Fresh food has traditionally been a key strength for Sainsbury, while Asda had excelled in non food. However, Asda is now planning a total
makeover, internally dubbing the initiative Fresh Change.
It will kick off early next year, affecting all areas of fresh, including counters, fish, bakery, meat, produce, as well as chilled and ready meals.
The concept, involving changes to the way categories are merchandised and positioned, will be trialled at selected stores before roll out.
Store managers will receive briefing packs outlining Asda's communication plan and details of how to implement Fresh Change. A new marketing campaign, including TV ads, will also support the overhaul.
Asda has begun setting up a specialist team to drive and monitor the changes. It is being led by Andy Goodison, the new fresh space swap project manager, previously category manager for frozen food.
A spokesman for Asda confirmed that the project had just begun but said details of trials would not be out until next year. “We want to change the space, giving customers more choice in fresh.”
Sainsbury chief executive Justin King said that if growth at Sainsbury and Asda remained in line with current figures, it would overtake Asda to regain its position as the second-biggest supermarket in the UK (The Grocer, October 15, p4).
Earlier this year, Asda chief executive Andy Bond stated a similar scenario, based on the fact that Sainsbury traditionally traded well over the summer due to its strength in fresh food.