Innovating for customers through our Incubator Programme

Andrew Yaxley

Chief Product Officer

11 Jun 2019

A history of partnership and innovation

Ever since our founder Jack Cohen joined forces with TE Stockwell 100 years ago to launch his own brand of affordable tea, we’ve worked in partnership with our suppliers to provide our customers with great quality, innovative products.

As our customer’s shopping habits continue to evolve, this spirit of innovation and partnership is just as important today. Food categories like our Free From range, and plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular, so we need to make sure we have the range and choice our customers expect.

Incubator Programme

We know we can offer even more choice to our customers if we work in partnership with our suppliers – and in particular, by helping young innovative brands grow and reach their potential.

That’s why we launched our Incubator programme. Set up in 2017, the programme is designed to give a helping hand to a carefully selected group of small entrepreneurial brands that have the potential to offer something different and exciting to our customers.

We carry out a thorough selection process which takes into account the latest customer trends. Once selected, the brands are offered a comprehensive year-long programme that includes a number of workshops run by our Product team, tips and advice on incorporating Tesco customer insight, and support on marketing products more effectively. We also offer one-to-one support from our partnership team, so we can grow together and offer customers the innovative products they’re looking for.


Over the past two years we’ve been lucky enough to work with nearly 30 innovative suppliers, helping them develop their brands within Tesco, and further afield. I’m extremely proud that a number of these brands have gone on to become household names, such as Brewdog, Propercorn, Fevertree and Graze.

In just one year, this community of brands has brought more than 100 new products to our shelves and as a result are helping us to tailor our products in a way that is more relevant and exciting for our customers, including our Own Brand ranges.

We’ll be inviting a number of our alumni Incubators to return as part of the 2019 programme – telling their story and passing on advice to the current crop of brands.

2019 intake

It’s never been more important to offer our customers affordable food and products that are sourced and made in a sustainable way, so this year’s intake of brands reflects this aim.

I’m thrilled to welcome an incredible intake of suppliers in 2019. From Just Love Food Company – offering the first nut-free range of celebration cakes, to Rascal and Friends, which offers a range of premium, unisex nappies, our nine new brands will all offer something different and unique to our customers.

We have some very exciting plans this year, so watch this space to find out more about our growing partnerships with our Incubator community.

Supplier partnerships

Our Incubator Programme builds on the work we’ve done in recent years to improve the way we work with our suppliers, and is part of a wider invitation to all of our suppliers to innovate and grow their businesses with us. By working in partnership, we can continue to provide our customers with fantastic, innovative new products.

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