ASDA Unveils New Quality Mark Across 3,500 Products - 'Chosen By You'

  • New ‘Chosen By You’ range with annual sales of £8-£9bn is largest, single, own brand relaunch in UK retailing history
  • £100m invested by retailer benchmarking, testing and reformulating products to improve quality
  • 3,500 individual products independently tested by Cambridge Market Research in just nine months
  • 40,000 consumers take part in 200,000 blind taste tests across the UK
  • Latest move part of concerted drive to improve product quality, at no extra cost to customers

Asda today (Tuesday 21st September) relaunched its entire range of more than 3,500 Asda brand food products – Chosen By You – which accounts for annual sales of between £8-9bn.

The move follows an intense nine month period of quality benchmarking and independent taste-testing. More than 40,000 people up and down the UK have taken part in secret events in church halls and community centres in 45 different locations from Kirkcaldy to Weston-Super-Mare, Londonderry to Canterbury, and Neath to Dereham (Norfolk) .

The scale of the supermarket’s own brand relaunch is unprecedented in UK retailing. So far, Asda has invested more than £100m in a concerted drive to improve product quality across the store, without impacting prices for customers.

Andy Clarke, Asda president and CEO said: “When it comes to our food, we’ve taken a long, hard look at our products, done a lot of listening to our customers, and invested a significant amount of time, effort and money.

“No other retailer has moved so aggressively to seek not just the counsel, but the consent of the very people who buy and eat their products.

“Today we’ve reached a key milestone in our efforts. We’re re-launching our core Asda brand - ‘Chosen By You’. We’re sending a clear message that Asda will now drive as hard on quality as it does on price.”

Despite improvements in quality, the Asda Chosen By You range will continue to be up to 20 per cent cheaper than the equivalent leading brand – offering unbeatable value to shoppers.

Paul Beresford, managing director at Cambridge Market Research, oversaw the Chosen By You independent product testing process. He said: “The scale of Asda’s product testing programme is unprecedented in my experience, and as such has been a logistical challenge at times.

“At one point my team were testing nearly 500 products in a single week, but Asda was determined to make it happen and has given us all the support necessary in terms of resource and financial investment.

“The results of their ongoing drive for quality were very evident in this research, with consistently good ratings across the product ranges and up and down the country. I was particularly impressed that they took on board the not inconsiderable cost of collecting product from their suppliers having asked them to guarantee that only standard product would be used for testing.”

Each Chosen By You product was tested by a minimum of 50 consumers in a single location. They all agreed that they were current buyers of the product type in question and didn’t reject the particular flavour to be tried. The sample profile included dieters, meat reducers, and those who were wheat intolerant etc. as required. With all children’s products tested in small groups of kid’s aged 7-14.

The test was conducted ‘blind’, i.e. without any packaging or branding shown, and products were prepared as instructed on pack and served on their own, or with a simple accompaniment i.e. a buttery spread with bread, or pasta sauces were all tasted with the same base pasta as appropriate.

Products that required more time to prepare and cook such as casserole sauces were tested in home, with ingredients like herbs and spices placed in-home for consumers to try and use in their own way.

The Chosen By You range is made up of more than 3,500 own brand food products, 500 of which are entirely new and another 1,000 of which have been reformulated. Together they account for between £8-9bn worth of annual sales – so not only is this the most significant food development at Asda – it is the single largest own label re-launch ever in UK retailing history.

Andy Clarke added: “We have made customers an integral part of our business and our business planning. And by doing so, we are giving them a real say in an important part of their everyday lives.

“We’re empowering our customers in a way that no U.K. retailer ever has. From today ‘our’ own brand becomes ‘your’ own brand.”

Cambridge Market Research Ltd:
Cambridge Market Research was established 30 years ago and provides consumer research services for the retail, manufacturing and supplier base industries, primarily in food and drink. It has worked for virtually all of the major supermarket in the UK, including the discounters and niche store groups. It is the research partner for The Grocer magazine in its annual Own Label and Branded Food & Drink Awards. Key clients include Birds Eye, Britvic, McDonald’s and Associated British Foods.

Chosen By You product testing
The Chosen By You initiative is unique in its scale and scope. Whilst most retailers compare new and key lines against competitors on a regular basis, this testing programme differs in two key respects:

  • It checks the opinions of a representative sample of shoppers at all the major grocery retailers, not just its own customers.
  • It has taken opinions on its products from across the UK, again on a representative basis, covering every region, from Kirkcaldy to Weston Super Mare, Londonderry to Canterbury, Neath to Dereham in Norfolk (45 different locations in total).

The scale of the programme is also unprecedented; Cambridge Market Research has canvassed the opinions of more than 40,000 consumers, including children, on over 3,500 products, which represents around 200,000 individual product tests.

Any products that failed were reviewed by the Asda team and improved and re-tested as necessary. If a product has not achieved the required target it cannot be included in the Chosen By You brand.

The Chosen By You taste test
Each product was tested by a minimum of 50 consumers in a single location. They all agreed that they were current buyers of the product type in question and didn’t reject the particular flavour to be tried.

The sample profile included dieters, meat reducers, those who were wheat intolerant etc., as required with children’s products tested in small groups of kid’s aged 7-14.

The test was conducted ‘blind’, i.e. without any packaging or branding shown.

Products were prepared as instructed on pack and served on their own, or with a simple accompaniment (i.e. a buttery spread with bread, or pasta sauces were all tasted with the same base pasta) as appropriate.

Products that required more time to prepare and cook such as casserole sauces were tested in home, with ingredients like herbs and spices placed in-home for consumers to try and use in their own way.
Link to website www.asda.com/chosenbyyou.

About Asda Stores Ltd.
Founded in the 1960s, Asda today is one of Britain’s leading retailers. It has over 170,000 dedicated Asda colleagues serving customers from 377 stores, including 25 ASDA Living stores, 23 depots and eight recycling centres across the UK (Great Britain and Northern Ireland). It has its main home office in Leeds, Yorkshire and its George clothing division based in Lutterworth Leicestershire. Asda serves over 18 million shoppers a week in store and its growing home shopping business serves over 97 per cent of UK homes.