What have UK supermarkets done for food bloggers lately?

Apples in Supermarkets pic credit Flickr David Schofield

When it comes to supermarket shopping, customer loyalty is rarely as lucrative as shopping around for the best offers going. The same can be said of blogger outreach from the top supermarkets in the UK.

Engagement between bloggers and supermarkets has ranged from being fairly paid in cash at professional rates to reluctantly being offered product samples.

So which supermarkets offer bloggable bargains? And which ones are just cabbages? We’ve done a supermarket sweep of food blogger interactions that we know of to date.

This list includes activities going back 2-3 years and will be updated whenever we get wind of something new doing the rounds.

Asda

Events:

In 2012, around 25 bloggers took part in a series of cookery class evenings (making their own dinner!) at Leith’s Cookery School. This was to help promote Leith’s partnership redeveloping Asda’s premium product range. Participants received generous goodie bags (including hefty copies of Leith’s Cookery Bible) and were given well sized hampers of products to giveaway to their readers. Some bloggers received invites to Asda Christmas Press Shows in central London and others have been invited to one off events at Asda HQ in Leeds.

Samples:

Sometimes.

Payment:

None known

Waitrose

Events:

Sparkling Christmas press shows in gorgeous venues. Waitrose’s blogger invites to their celebrity studded Waitrose Summer Party are highly coveted. Guests in 2013 included Pippa Middleton, Heston Blumenthal and a live performance by Paloma Faith. If you get an invite to the Waitrose Summer Party you put on your best outfit and you go.

Samples:

Not generally sent out however event attendees routinely leave with happy squeal inducing goodie bags featuring half a dozen new Waitrose products including Heston range and Duchy Originals.

Payment:

Waitrose recently offered several food bloggers £350 worth of vouchers to spend on Waitrose Cookery School classes in return for bloggers developing recipes for their website.

Less generously, Waitrose recently asked bloggers to write two posts about planting an apple tree with their kids in return for £10. Erm… we think we’ll pass on that one.

Sainsburys

Events:

Occasionally there have been event invites although fewer recently. Seasonal press shows held at their Holborn HQ. Goodie bags (when given) have been less generous than other supermarkets.

Samples:

Not usually offered direct but occasionally sent out via third party PR agencies handling promotion of new ranges i.e. Taste the Difference, Great British Bake Off cookware.

Payment:

There have been precedents for payment from Sainsbury’s – so make sure you ask. In 2013 they’ve commissioned bloggers (via an agency) to create videos in return for £150. A Christmas program in 2012 offered half a dozen bloggers £75 vouchers in return for posts featuring Sainsbury’s Christmas products. Some blogger network members received £50 in 2013 for posts. Back in 2011 they also paid £100 for sponsored posts via an advertising network. Payment for hosting giveaways has been made too.

Activities:

The orange supermarket has dangled a carrot of partnership via various schemes – but rarely offers much back. Sainsbury’s Bank offered bloggers £50 vouchers in return for displaying badges and receiving material to consider publishing on their sites – admittedly these two “strings” were optional and there was nothing to stop you taking the voucher and only leaving the badge up for however long you deemed £50 worth of advertising to last. Then a few months later some bloggers were asked if they’d display similar badges but this time without payment. Sainsbury’s Bank website also published lists of favourite bloggers… who were subsequently invited by email to display, yep you guessed it, free advertising linking back to Sainsbury’s Bank. A further scheme saw Sainsbury’s website name their “favourite” food blogs under the banner of being in Sainsbury’s Blogger Network yet peculiarly the invites to join the network went out after publication of this list. Apart from a one off £50 sponsored post, little of consequence seems to have been offered to network members.

Tesco

Events:

Frequent drop ins promoting new product ranges held in central London; the Christmas press show (and sometimes Halloween); the Tesco RealFood website has held cookery events and cupcake decorating classes in London.

Samples:

Sometimes – but usually to mailing list only.

Payment:

More generous and more consistent than other supermarkets – £100 vouchers for attending strawberry tasting event in 2013; £100 cash payment for bloggers’ articles published on Tesco RealFood website; £50 vouchers for posts promoting a Tesco Christmas cupcake competition.

Activities:

In 2012, Cedar Communications on behalf of Tesco RealFood undertook repeated consultation with food bloggers about whether they’d display free advertising and widgets featuring Tesco content. We hope we’ve convinced them to kick it into the long grass.

 

Other stores worth a mention:

Morrisons

Less outreach occurs from Morrisons but that which does can be worth joining in with.
They invite bloggers to their Christmas press shows and have included £25 vouchers with ingredients for past blogging challenges.

Marks & Spencer

There’s barely ever any blogger outreach from M&S food however some Halloween samples have been sent out in 2013. Presumably handled by a separate agency to their food, boxes of wine from their M&S Wine Direct service were reviewed by bloggers back in 2011.

Booths

Wine was given to some bloggers participating in the #BoothsCheers Twitter parties.

The Co-op

Samples given from time to time.

Fortnum & Mason

Occasional invites to press events.

Aldi

Free chocolate to review!

If you’ve taken part in any supermarket blogger outreach that’s not mentioned above, do mention it in the comments below.

We’re intending to keep this post updated as new outreach activities occur so bloggers can see what else is out there when considering whether to take part in supermarket campaigns.

Photo credit: David Schofield / Flickr

Post By Sarah Trivuncic (4 Posts)

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1 comment to What have UK supermarkets done for food bloggers lately?

  • I would say I have had many offers of samples from Sainsbury’s direct but in the end you realise that it’s just not a cost effective exercise to accept them as they are not of high enough value for the time spent and extra ingredients bought to use them. But having said that sometimes you’re pushed to use something that you might otherwise never have bought and learn something in the process, like the time I used their fondant in my Fondant Rose Bisuit post.

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