Supermarkets inventing places to make you buy premium food

14 February 2012

farmerIs the salmon of 'Lochmuir' your favourite kind? Like Willow Farm chickens? They're great aren't they? However, while these special treats may plant an idyll in your mind, there's something you should know - half of them are nothing but a crock.

In the case of Marks & Spencer's 'Lochmuir' salmon, the location is something they've simply invented. Like Willow Farm chicken, the product actually comes from farms dotted all over the place, according to a Which! investigation.

Of course, the supermarkets aren't breaking the law while they do this, but with more and more customers looking at where their food comes from, it feels that this is the wrong side of hoodwinkery.

Which!!! executive director Richard Lloyd said: "Using a place name can create the illusion of a more personal shopping experience like a farmers' market, or evoke images of a specific location. And with more of us interested in where food comes from, clever branding can help sell products."

An M&S spokesman says: "'Lochmuir does not exist, however the name is a collective way of representing farms across Scottish regions.' Someone from Tesco adds: "All the Willow Farm chickens are British, from a number of farms - one called Willow Farm."

There's also concern over 'weasel words' which could mislead consumers. For example, Covent Garden Wild Mushroom soup contains only 0.6 per cent dried wild mushrooms, but 18 per cent normal mushrooms and a bottle of Strawberry Yop has absolutely no fruit in it whatsoever. Likewise, 'farm fresh' eggs may still have been laid by caged hens.

TOPICS:   High Street News   Supermarket

14 comments

  • Dick
    And how much water is in that soup? If labelled by ingredients, starting with the largest composition, it would probably be water soup with a few potatoes and onions and a bit of mushroom. Whilst Lochmuir doesn't exist, at least it means sea-lake so is kind of describing where the fish comes from. Although if they wanted it to sound even more Scottish maybe they should have called it ShoulderChip or Cantscoreatry Wontscoreatry. M&S also sell Oakham chickens, which aren't from Oakham. Nor are they made from acorns or pigs. Or acorn fed pigs.
  • Boris
    Surely they have enough cash to buy Rangers and rename it Lochmuir United. Two problems solved,
  • Boris
    On the other hand some companies change the name of their products from real places just to hide the source. I had a lovely Wetwang sausage pie once. Can't find them any more.
  • Dick
    Rangers going broke is not a problem.
  • Dick
    There's still a great butcher in Wetwang.
  • Dick
    Boocock's - that's his name. In Wetwang.
  • Her L.
    To make matters worse, Covent Garden Soup Co. might inspire an image of Gregg Wallace flogging rotten veg for half price at the end of the day but in reality the soup is churned out at a factory in Peterborough.
  • Businessman
    It's all factory rubbish anyway. If you eat this stuff you have only yourself to blame. Eat proper food it's good for you and costs f all.
  • Avon B.
    If they wanted a brand to sound Scottish, they could name it 'Salmonds of Little Mansyndrome'.
  • Frank P.
    I once bought fish from Twatfield
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