Can Asda really do 'posh nosh'?

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There's profits in posh, as supermarkets are finding out. After supermarket 'price wars' - did you really notice any big drops in the price of everyday goods? - supermarkets are now trying to tap other areas to turn a profit. Like posh food. Which is why Wal-Mart backed Asda has just struck a new deal with Leiths School of Food and Wine. Oh no, not more celeb-backed food.


Any 3 for £6

Supermarkets have cottoned onto the fact that the recession is killing going out. Why spend £50 on a meal for two on your local high street when you can do pretty well at home for £15. Including wine, for some. Look at Morrisons. It recently introduced "M Kitchen", a new premium food range endorsed by several top chefs.

But Morrisons is a middle-ranking supermarket player. In terms of status, it sits a bit lower than J Sainsbury's but above Asda, (though admittedly there's not much in it). Can Asda, then, really benefit from a posh food label? Well, it could do with the sales. In comparison to its competitors, sales are lagging and Christmas is coming.

Price pressure

Teaming up with a cookery school is a bit different to latching onto a chef. Asda's food range here will be branded "in partnership" with Leiths to back the move, which should differentiate it from its Chosen By You brand. But the relationship between celebs or celeb-style endorsement is always a bit of an awkward one.

Jamie Oliver may have made £1m-plus a year to flog Sainsbury's sausages and beef. Gary Rhodes has flogged Flora marge - sorry, buttery - and Marco Pierre White has stuck his name behind Morrisons' "Glorious" range of soups.

Yet many of these celebs go on about organic food and factory farming while often not realising that good quality food is expensive. We're in a recession. People are cutting back.

Cooking up partnerships

Jamie Oliver would like everyone to eat organic bacon and Fearnley-Whittingstall has tabled special resolutions at Tesco AGMs calling it for it to hike its standards. All good stuff, but at a cost, possibly. One chef establishment figure that said she would not put her name near any supermarket processed food is Delia Smith.

I've never done any advertising because I feel I am in a position of trust, and that has been very liberating," she has said in the past. Well, not quite so liberated now because she's teamed up with Waitrose. Clearly there's mileage left in celeb chefs, chef schools and, in the case of Delia Smith, recipes.

"Leiths has stood the test of time and remains one of the best cooking schools in the world. It is the true purveyor of food quality," meanwhile claims Asda boss Andy Clarke... "This [move] will give the whole country access to affordable, quality ingredients and products, as well as provide simple recipes and accessible cooking skills."

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