Press Centre

Asda’s Community Life pilot program in 31 stores today

All stores to launch in 2012

At the 2011 IGD conference today, Andy Clarke, Asda president and CEO, announced the retailer has embarked on a program that will build on its long-standing and rich heritage of community involvement.

“In the UK, what people want and need in their lives now is a sense of ownership, unity and security. This is the new wealth. And it can only be found in community,” said Andy Clarke.

“The retailer that innovates around community and operates with the consent of community will be the retailer of the future.”

From raising money for breast cancer charities, its apprenticeship programs, to waste reduction and saving money people that they can spend elsewhere in their communities, Asda has always had a great track record.

It will build on this heritage by introducing “Community Life” to make an even bigger difference – already underway in 31 locations from Doncaster to Donnington Wood, empowering colleagues to do even more.

Alongside their store managers, new Community Life Champions – ordinary colleagues with a heart for their communities – have been given dedicated time to find new ways to serve their neighbours. These Community Champions are inspiring their store colleagues to find ways to get involved and support their community.

The trial has already exceeded expectations and Asda colleagues are making a difference. Community Champions are now spending a day a week serving local organisations; community events are hosted in store every month; space has been opened up for local groups to meet; customers are deciding which local causes to support with the new charity program “Chosen by You, Given by Us”; and colleagues are meeting with local leaders every month to help build stronger relationships.

Community Life will be rolled out to all 500-plus Asda stores and depots across the UK in the first quarter of 2012.

“Government cutbacks are creating a shift in British society toward more reliance on communities — whether it’s for health care, education or making ends meet during a rough patch. Community Life is another big step to being a better part of the daily lives of our customers,” added Andy.

“At Asda, we’ve set the goal to be number one for community in the UK. Retail must lead, and Asda will lead retail.”

Posted in Press Centre on 11 October 2011
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  • Asda is the first supermarket to introduce High Sugar Grass to its beef, lamb and dairy farmers.
  • Asda to discount high sugar grass to its 13,500 farmers to reduce cow carbon footprint
  • Move equal to taking around 78,000 cars off the road
  • High Sugar Grass will reduce bought-in farmer feed costs and increase animal yields.

Asda today announced that it is the first retailer to introduce a revolutionary new grass for its beef, lamb and dairy herds. The supermarket aims to reduce the CO2 from its cows and sheep, and cut emissions by 186,000 tonnes – the equivalent of 78,000 cars off the road. Laboratory tests have shown this new High Sugar Grass can cut methane emissions by 20 per cent per animal.

The agricultural sector accounts for over 40 per cent of the nation’s methane emissions – mostly through oral emissions.

Asda has teamed up with British Seed Houses to introduce Aber® High Sugar Grass (Aber HSG) and Aber clovers to its 13,500 farmers across the UK. Bred and developed in Britain, Aber HSG significantly reduces methane emissions and also minimises bought-in feed costs – one of the biggest farmer financial outlays – improves production efficiencies and animal yields.

In partnership with British Seed Houses, Asda has been trialling the new grass at its dairy, beef and lamb demonstration farms to assess the performance of Aber HSG grasses in a variety of systems. It is also offering its BeefLink, LambLink and DairyLink farmers one free acre bag of high sugar grass seed for every ten acres purchased which equates to a saving of £55-60 per ten acres, ensuring significant cost savings.

Pearce Hughes, Asda’s agricultural manager said: "Our tests show high sugar grass increases yields, reduces bought-in feed costs and saves carbon emissions, making it the perfect formula for the British farming. Our aim is to ensure long-term financial sustainability for our farmers as well as making sure we’re doing our bit for the environment, so this is a natural grass choice for us.

By introducing Aber HSG to our extensive British farming network we will increase profitability by over £10m in the first year alone – money in the pockets of farmers. This programme will also contribute to Walmart’s global goal of removing 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gases from the supply chain."

Savings on feed costs come from having higher quality grass that fattens animals alone without having to buy high energy cereals as required with average grasses. Also, high quality silage (conserved pickled grass fed during the winter) is much higher in quality than average silage so again less bought in feed required to balance the ration.

Speaking on behalf of British Seed Houses agricultural director Paul Billings said the potential of Aber HSG grasses to boost production on BeefLink, LambLink and DairyLink farms should not be underestimated.

“Trials have shown that dairy herds grazing Aber HSG grasses can produce up to six pc more milk per cow over the grazing season, with a three per cent improvement in diet digestibility. Beef farm trials have seen daily dry matter intakes increased by a quarter, with 18-35 per cent higher daily liveweight gains and cattle reaching slaughter-weight more quickly.

“We’re delighted to be working with Asda on this new initiative and I’m confident it will lead to a long lasting legacy of improved production efficiency in the livestock sector,” said Mr Billings.

Grass is the mainstay of the British dairy, beef and lamb production and is the most natural feed for animals, but cattle and sheep are actually poor convertors of grass protein into milk and meat. When grazing ordinary grass, livestock use only 20pc of protein from the herbage for production – most of the rest is wasted in faeces and urine. This is not only financially costly, but also detrimental to the environment.

Research has shown that Aber HSG varieties have consistently higher levels of sugars than standard varieties throughout the grazing season. Several trials involving dairy and beef cattle, as well as sheep, have demonstrated significant performance benefits from feeding Aber HSG.

Some trials on Aber High Sugar Grass have produced the following statistics:

Dairy herds:

  • Six per cent more milk per cow over grazing season
  • Dry matter intakes up per 2kg/head per day
  • Three per cent improvement in diet digestibility
  • 24 per cent less feed nitrogen lost in urine

Beef production

  • Dry matter intakes increased by around 25 per cent
  • Higher forage intakes
  • 20 per cent higher daily live-weight gains
  • Slaughter-weights reached more quickly

Lamb production

  • Higher forage intakes
  • 20 per cent higher live-weight gains
  • 20 per cent higher carrying capacity
Posted in Press Centre on 12 October 2011
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George at Asda launches the ‘Thingo’ to help banish women’s bingo wings

  • Over 50% of women surveyed admit to being unhappy with their upper arms

  • 69% of women conceal their upper arms by covering up at all times

  • Jennifer Aniston, Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton win the celebrity arm poll

  • 61% of women desire a more shapely waist like Kelly Brook

George has today answered the calls of the nation’s women to help cheat their way to the perfect arms and stomach with the launch of the ‘Thingo’ – an innovative top which sculpts those bingo wings and muffin tops.

Posted in Press Centre on 30 October 2011
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UK families £15 a week worse off in September 2011 than in 2010

  • September saw a £15 a week fall in family spending power compared to the same month last year – the biggest drop since records began in 2007
  • Average UK household had £163 a week of discretionary income in September 2011, 8.4 per cent lower than a year earlier
  • Over a third of people say the cost of utilities is the biggest drain on the family purse
  • Asda customers say utilities and fuel costs remain the biggest pressure on family disposable income

The latest Asda Income Tracker has revealed that family spending power fell by £15 a week in September 2011 – the third consecutive month of record breaking decline. The squeeze left the average UK family with £163 of weekly disposable income – 8.4 per cent down from this time last year.

Annual inflation on the consumer price index grew again to 5.2 per cent in September, up 0.7 percentage points from August, placing significant pressure on household spending power.

Family budgets are squeezed further by the rising costs of basics. The rising cost of heating and lighting the home pushes the overall rate of inflation even further above the Bank of England’s target rate of 2 per cent. In September, electricity prices were some 12.9 per cent higher than a year ago, while gas prices were 22.3 per cent higher.

Read more and download the full report
Posted in Press Centre on 25 October 2011
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  • Three quarters (76%) of Brits have at least three different cheeses in their fridges compared to just under a quarter (23%) ten years ago

  • Cheddar is still the big cheese and found in 9 out of 10 fridges

  • New fridge favourites include Wensleydale, parmesan, halloumi and feta

Like a fine cheddar, a survey by Asda reveals Brits’ taste for cheese is continually maturing, with three quarters (76%) of UK fridges now containing up to three different cheeses. This contrasts to ten years ago when over three quarters (77%) of households had only one medium-strength cheddar in their fridges.

Although cheddar is still at the top of our shopping list – 87% of us buy a block each week – Brits have extended their cheese-eating repertoire, with Wensleydale, parmesan, feta and halloumi all regularly making the cut. To celebrate being named Cheese Retailer of the Year and the expansion of our cheese-nation, Asda has launched over 70 new cheeses in 2011 including the Alex James cheese range and chilli halloumi. In the last ten years Asda has increased its cheese range by a whopping 50% and now stocks over 300 types of cheese.

Ten years ago cheddar was our all-purpose cheese, but Brits now take more time over their choices and, inspired by trips abroad, are matching varieties of cheese to meals. Whilst cheddar and Wensleydale continue to be sandwich staples it seems Greek favourites, feta and halloumi, are top salad choices and a bowl of pasta isn’t complete without a liberal sprinkling of grated parmesan.

Anna Patrick from Asda’s cheese team says, “From Pimlico to Padstow Peckham to Preston we really are a nation of fromage-fanatics nibbling at cheese from all over the world from Paneer to Parmesan! We’ve seen a real surge in demand for different types of cheese in the last few years which is why we’re selling more types than ever before, over 300 at the last count!”

Posted in Press Centre on 20 October 2011
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Asda research shows how to maximise the trick-or-treat yield this Halloween

  • Halloweenorific Brits keep their witches wigs on with 65% saying they prefer traditional costumes over modern characters
  • 67% of people say their generosity is influenced by the spectacular spooky costumes that visit on Halloween night
  • Cute pumpkin costume sells out online within a matter of hours, and customers go barking mad for Halloween costumes for dogs with thousands sold online in the few first days
  • Top-10 most ghoulishly generous towns revealed – Belfast comes top with shoppers spending a whopping £22 on treats for spooky trick-or-treaters.

Shoppers need not lose their heads over finding the right Halloween costumes for their kids, with new research showing which costumes to wear for a profitable night of trick-or-treating and bulging treat bags.

New research from George at Asda has shown that 67% admit their chocolate generosity is heavily influenced by the costumes worn by trick-or-treaters and 65% prefer traditional costumes over modern creations such as Freddie Kruger or Scream’s Ghostface.

Witches, skeletons and vampires have all seen massive sales uplifts this year, with the cute George pumpkin dress-up selling out online in just a few hours of it going on sale.

And most treat-givers agree these are the best choices for Halloween with 71% giving witches the thumbs up – skeletons come in at 57% and vampires 54%.

Pet costumes also rank highly, giving Fido the chance to don his fangs and cape and ‘aw’ householders into treat-giving submission.

Asda’s Halloween buyer Erin Griffin said: "With almost two thirds of homes planning to welcome Halloween revellers this year, it looks like the nation has fallen under the All Hallows spell.

“Fancy-dress has always been popular with Brits – Halloween is the perfect time for children to take part in this much-loved dress-up custom, and it’s a great time of year to teach them about generosity and community spirit.”

The research also shows how best to plan your All Hallows Eve, with almost 90% of people saying they’re much happier opening the door to groups they know or recognise, and almost half admitting they would hesitate to open the door if they don’t see an adult chaperone present.

Most people think four mini ghouls is the ideal number to greet on the doorstep, with more than half thinking their sweet supply will last a maximum of 90 minutes before running out.

And the survey reveals the top-10 generous towns this year:

Belfast – planning to spend £22.20 per household on Halloween treats

Glasgow – £18.20

Manchester – £12.60

Newcastle – £12.55

Cardiff – £12.55

Birmingham – £12.44

Southend – £11.92

Leeds – £11.86

London – £11.36

Norwich – £10.37

Erin adds: "There is a level of trick-or-treatiquette expected on Halloween. We’ve found that most households expect to be busiest just after 6pm on the big night and hope the last call will be no later than 7.45pm so they can relax, or enjoy their own Halloween party with friends and family without interruptions.

“We also advise that homes not expecting mini-vamps and witches should still stock up on a few odd treats – for those caught out in the past it seems the more peculiar gifts have been a bowl of soup, a sausage roll, a can of baked beans, a hard-boiled egg and even a toothbrush.

“So to all trick or treaters out there, look out for those glowing pumpkin heads and spooky inflatable ghosts to make sure you’re visiting houses in a ghoulishly generous mood – and if you live in any of the top 10 Halloweenorific towns then you’re in for a bumper night.”

Children’s Halloween dress up, including witches and skeleton costumes, start at just £5 from George at Asda. Get yours in store and online at – with free in store collect to any Asda. Adult costumes and everything you could need to make sure your Halloween is a night to remember are at Asda in store or online at

Posted in Press Centre on 24 October 2011