Given the opportunity to pay a visit to the quaint British farm of your dreams, would you rather traipse along the picturesque hills of Woodside Farms, frolic among the pastoral beauty of Rosedene Farms, or let your hair loose and embrace the genteel pace of stately Nightingale Farms?
It's a hard choice, right? After all, each of the aforementioned British farms has its own allure—its own raison d'être and terroir to soak in and embrace.
Except for the niggling little fact that the farms aren't actually British. Did we also forget to mention that absolutely none of those farms exist at all, let alone on the British Isles? That fact doesn't seem to bother Tesco—Britain's largest supermarket chain—in the least
After all, Tesco just launched seven new in-house brands all using the aforementioned fictional farm names. The newly minted labels for their in-house line is being used to market a wide array of products from meat to vegetables and is as follows: Woodside Farms, Willow Farms, Boswell Farms, Nightingale Farms, Redmere Farms, Rosedene Farms, and Suntrail Farms.
As would be expected, both consumers and farmers—who actually do currently exist and are located in Britain—are pretty pissed at what they believe to be nothing more than faulty advertising and a blatant lie. In fact, both Britain's National Farmers' Union and the Soil Association have called into question the ethicality of the marketing.
Chief food advisor to the National Farmers' Union, Ruth Mason, explained: "We recognize that Tesco has chosen to brand these products with fictional farm names - a marketing technique practiced in Aldi and Lidl on selected product lines." Mason goes on to say, "There will inevitably be shoppers who are led to believe that the fictional names of the farms are the real source of the product—this makes the need for clear and accurate origin labeling even greater."
The Soil Association's chief executive, Helen Browning, believes the labels to be "brands of convenience" and says, "People deserve better. We increasingly want to know where our food comes from, and we want honesty and authenticity."
Too bad that isn't how the supermarket chain sees it.
A Tesco spokesperson told The Telegraph the labels merely represented a brand rather then an actual farm and assured customers as to the quality of their suppliers. The spokesperson goes on to state, "All of our packaging clearly displays the country of origin on front of pack to help customers make an informed decision on what they wish to buy."
More confusing is the fact that the spokesperson at least partially chalks up the labels to ensuring that shoppers can get the products they need from Tesco: "We know customers want the convenience of getting all their shopping in one place."
What labeling all your food with the names of fictitious British-sounding farms has to do with ensuring that you have both apples and pears on your shelf is something only Tesco and the fabled Rosedene Farms can answer.
God save the Queen and so on.