“Daddy, I don’t want to eat animals anymore,” a young girl says to her father in Tesco’s recently aired television advert.
The advertisement is promoting the supermarket retailer’s new Plant Chef range, made up of ‘affordable’ plant-based alternatives to family favourites. These include vegan Cumberland sausages, which the father uses to prepare a meat-free casserole.
“I blooming love my meat. But not as much as I love my little girl,” he says, concluding that his meat-free alternative to traditional casserole is “just as tasty as it used to be”.
The advertisement has sparked outcry among British farmers since its first airing on 10 October, prompting the president of National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Minette Batters, to raise objections with Tesco.
Messaging and language
In her letter to the supermarket retailer, Batters outlined NFU members’ ‘significant concerns’ regarding the language used in the advert.
“The NFU believes that messaging such as this is demonising meat as a food group, which not only has negative connotations for farmers but also for the avocation of customers eating a healthy balanced diet,” noted the NFU in a statement.
“Meat as a food group provides naturally rich protein and [is] a good source of iron, zinc and essential vitamins. There are certain parts of the population, especially teenage girls, who are currently not eating sufficient quantities of these micro-nutrient to fulfil their dietary requirement.
“We believe it is vital that children do not establish misleading views of food groups, which may later affect their health and diets.”
Derek Sarno: ‘Love this ad’
Tesco’s head of plant-based innovation, Derek Sarno, took to social media to express his support of the advertisement.
“Love this ad, especially the bright young lady that sees the way things really are and wants to change. These are honest conversations happening today, YET surprisingly it seems there is some debate about it. Proud of Tesco for being honest and balanced.”
Tesco does not appear to be slowing down its rapid expansion of plant-based lines – largely made up of Plant Chef and Wicked Kitchen. The retailer has sold more than 10 million units of Wicked Kitchen since it first launched last year.
Both brands have been placed in the retailer’s meat aisle to offer flexitarians an ‘immediate alternative’, noted the company. This will be expanded out into other parts of the store in due course.