In Jimmy and the Giant supermarket (C4, 9pm, 29 May), Jimmy Doherty ditched the Blue Peter-esque antics to embark on a serious - if naïve - mission to try and make higher-welfare versions of some of Tesco’s bestselling meat lines for the same low price. The programme kicked off with Jimmy chuckling, as he shoved meat through a grinder, that it “does take brains, it does take heart and most of all it takes a big pair of testicles”.
To be fair to Tesco, it too had balls to agree to engage with Jimmy as he tried to produce affordable meatballs from rosé veal (and put to better use some of the 90,000 male dairy cows shot at birth every year). Shame the other two ingredients were missing. Tesco passed up no opportunity to belittle Jimmy’s efforts - or, more disturbingly, patronise their customers. Meatballs with herbs and fillings were not bland enough. “They eat well, but the kids are going to turn off them in their thousands,” said one suit, dismissing a second offering of pork and veal meatballs as “the perfect storm to not succeed”.
Luckily, Jimmy had a Plan B: the rosé veal itself, he pointed out, was produced to higher welfare standards than the German veal on sale at Tesco - which promised to look into it while warning “not to push us on the scheduling”.
Is it any wonder Tesco is in trouble? I wouldn’t be surprised if another retailer picked up Jimmy’s meatballs - if shoppers thought twice about Tesco’s with their 24.7% fat and DNA from 179 animals, that is. People want cheap, not nasty - as rivals seem to understand, but on the evidence of this, I’m not sure Tesco does.