tesco farms

Faux farms: a dumb move

Sir, Tesco launching faux brand names for fresh food with a very British bucolic ring has caused such a kerfuffle. So, what is Tesco up to? They’re copying competitors. Aldi and Lidl have used fictional farm names for years without a hint of criticism. But does that mean Tesco’s move was smart? No - tending towards dumb. If you make a song and dance about supporting British farmers, then you sell produce from Morocco under a brand name reeking of Britishness, you’ll get pasted.

In an era where transparency and traceability are top of mind, if integrity is questioned, this very quickly this translates into fewer customers.

Professor David Hughes and Miguel Flavian, supermarketsinyourpocket.com

Post Office is a cuckoo

Sir, Steve Parfett’s Talking Shop piece ‘Post Office mistake’ (2 April, p22) highlights the imbalance between the ‘local’ Post Office and its usually independent host retailer.

The Post Office is a cuckoo in the nest. This manifests itself in the extraordinary administrative demands and ever-rising staff costs needed to man a counter. The so-called benefits of increased footfall are not as widespread as the Post Office thinks, and in reality reflect the need for the Post Office to gain high street exposure on the cheap to support an otherwise broken business model. The outcome will be painful and expensive.

Jonathan Nicholson, Nicholsons

Babyfood without guilt

Sir, With reference to your ‘Marketing to mums in 2016’ feature (26 March, p32), parents do indeed feel great guilt about buying pre-prepared foods. If parents do buy them, they primarily want recipes that are too difficult or time-consuming and costly to make themselves. With around double the variety of ingredients in other babyfoods, For Aisha halal recipes alleviate the guilt about purchasing pre-prepared meals.

Mark Salter, CEO, For Aisha

Sugar tax challenges

Sir, With his sugar tax, George Osborne is likely to find himself taking on the world’s largest businesses with the deepest pockets. There are a number of potential grounds for challenge. The Scottish government recently saw its proposals to set a minimum unit price for alcohol challenged by the European Court for having the potential to interfere with the European single market. Also, when Denmark tried to bring in a tax on some saturated foods, this was successfully challenged by the European Commission as being discriminatory. The tax should have been applied to all sat urated fat products. Despite its perceived health benefits, Denmark decided to scrap the tax. Further, after pressure from Europe, Finland is to drop its tax on sweets, ice cream and soft drinks from 2017 The potential is clearly there for challenge around resultant distortion of competition between those foodstuffs that are to bear the tax and those that are not, this potentially being in breach of European competition and single market rules; the soft drinks businesses have the resources to mount these challenges.

Laurence Pritchard, Partner, Weightmans LLP