Tesco chiller ready meals

Tesco has defended a promotional brochure for its ready meals that depicted its suppliers’ staff as ‘Tesco chefs’

Tesco has defended itself over criticism it could be misleading consumers in a recent brochure to promote its ready meals.

The ‘Ready meals you can trust’ brochure included endorsements for a number of ready meals by the chefs who created them. They are listed as Tesco chefs even though they are actually employed by the retailer’s suppliers - among them Greencore and Kerry Foods.

The leaflet, published in mid-July, was distributed with all online deliveries and through stores, and includes a pledge that “all our chilled ready meals are created by our own professional chefs”.  The campaign is aimed to show that all the retailer’s ready meals are free from artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

Tesco Thai prawn noodles was created by Kerry Foods NPD chef Mat Stephany, while his colleague Alex Whittle is included as the man behind Tesco’s steak and ale puff pastry pie. Kris Woods, development chef at Greencore, discusses Tesco’s beef lasagne, and the fourth Tesco chef named is Walkers Pies’ Ian Heircock.

Tesco however denied that it was misleading consumers and pointed out that the chefs are pictured on the back of the leaflet in uniforms with non-Tesco logos.

“The chefs in this campaign are seen next to a dish they have created especially for Tesco, that’s why we call them our chefs,” said a Tesco spokeswoman. “We’re proud to be working with chefs that have great experience and passion for food and our customers want to know where the recipes have come from.”