Tesco is fast becoming the supermarket of choice for higher ticket food items for special occasions, an area of the market traditionally dominated by M&S and Sainsbury, according to new Mintel research. In a survey of 2,000 shoppers polled in the first half of the year, Tesco came top or joint top as the preferred food retailer across all expenditure levels. Director of research Hayley Myers said this demonstrated how Tesco had changed customer perceptions with the success of own label initiatives such as Tesco Finest, and its leadership online. Despite 20 years of focusing on the top end of the market and "foregoing the chance to attract main weekly shoppers," M&S came only joint top of the special occasion foods category with Tesco. {{NEWS }}