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Hampstead shoppers slam Tesco after organic porridge oats disappear from store

Jenny Anderson is one of many unhappy about a reduction in organic produce at Tesco Express in Hampstead. Picture: Nigel Sutton Jenny Anderson is one of many unhappy about a reduction in organic produce at Tesco Express in Hampstead. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Thursday, October 24, 2013
5:00 PM

Shoppers in Hampstead have attacked supermarket giant Tesco for slashing its organic offering and packing the aisles with ever more junk food.

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Residents claim the Heath Street branch of Tesco Express, Hampstead Village’s only major supermarket, has been steadily reducing its stock of organic and healthy produce since a store revamp in the summer.

Meanwhile, they say items like fizzy drinks and ready-made sandwiches are becoming increasingly prominent.

Jenny Anderson, a children’s play worker based at the Hampstead Community Centre in Hampstead High Street, sent a formal complaint to Tesco head office this week.

She said: “I have already complained to the manager about the reduction in organic produce. It used to be quite prominent, but I feel they have steadily been withdrawing the high-end organic and good quality foods over the last few months.

“Also the organic stuff they do sell is being hidden away so it’s really hard to find. It feels like they are hiding it away so no one will buy it, and then they can justify not selling it.”

Ms Anderson, of Christchurch Hill, would like to see a much broader variety of organic fruit and vegetables, while her mother was unhappy when the shop’s range of organic breads suddenly disappeared.

She added: “A manager told me it was a directive from head office. It seems odd because I would think there was a demand for it in Hampstead. I would like to know what’s going on.”

Another resident who came forward this week, a 65-year-old academic of Ellerdale Road, was particularly annoyed to find his favoured brand of organic porridge oats had gone from the shelves.

He said: “I’m really disappointed about it. The whole fizzy drinks and sandwiches department seems to be expanding more and more.

“Perhaps that’s how they make their money, but I would imagine there’s a big demand for organic food in Hampstead.

“We’ve started going to Waitrose in Finchley Road because of this – it would be great if there was a place like that in central Hampstead.”

A spokesman for Tesco said: “We aim to offer our local customers the right products to suit their needs in all our stores.”

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