Funny Farms


In our weekly Monday morning planning meeting we were amused by Tesco launching seven new ‘exclusive to Tesco’ ‘farms’ brands into its stores under which it will sell own-label foods:

Rosedene Farms (local & imported fruit)

Boswell Farms (beef)

Suntrail Farms (local & imported fruit)

Willow Farms (poultry)

Nightingale Farms (salads)

Redmere Farms (vegetables)

Woodside Farms (pork, bacon & sausages)

Selling products under the name of an overarching ‘farms’ brand can create a bygone sense of proximity between retailer and supplier. Such ‘farm/s’ brands are also something the discount retailers Aldi and Lidl have particularly focused on in the UK. For example, Aldi has Ashfield Farm and Lidl has Birchwood Farm.

Breaking them down and analysing them, we found them to be littered with references to the natural environment and rural / historic / bygone features of England. These references arguably create a sense of reassurance amongst shoppers.

We don’t know whether this much thought went into creating the names, or indeed whether they were wholly invented or taken from existing Tesco-supplying farms. But when our forensic linguists hijacked the meeting, this is what they came up with…

Rose – a horticultural reference and an indirect nod to England, given the rose’s strong associations with Englishness. For example, the phrase, ‘an English Rose’ and the famous quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…

Wood – a feature of the British landscape and a natural material typically used in craft-made / artisanal goods. Also used in flavour descriptions in food marketing – for example, ‘woodfired pizza’ and therefore familiar to consumers.

Willow – a tree, native to England and historically used to make cricket bats, that most English of sports. A subconscious reference to ‘The Wind in the Willows’ by Scottish author Kenneth Grahame. An unintentional reference to the 80s George Lucas film ‘Willow’?

Nightingale – a bird that migrates to England during early summer and the subject of English poet John Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale’.

Sun – a feature of the solar system and the source of the heat and light that helps to fuel plant growth – quite apt to use on fruit as Tesco is doing here.

Well – a manmade feature designed for water extraction. A nod to ‘olde England’, particularly given the term ‘wishing well’, a phrase in common parlance.

Mere – a body of water / a lake. There’s one in Diss, Norfolk BTW.

Trail – a track. Its use as a food marketing term has become popular in recent years in the product name ‘trail mix’.

Dene – meaning a vale and often forming part of old English place names – particularly around Brighton – Sherlock’s home turf!





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