How Sinful Is Your Shopping Basket?

The Reporting of Tesco in 2006, 2007 and 2008
  • Gary James MerrillEmail author


In 2006, the Competition Commission announced an inquiry into the British groceries market. The investigation focussed on the four leading supermarket chains which, between them, had captured two-thirds of the market. This case study analyses how three news organisations covered the largest supermarket company, Tesco, at three key points over the period of the investigation. More precisely, it assesses the exposure and credence given to two competing perspectives of supermarket power. Whereas supporters argued that supermarkets had benefited investors, created jobs and provided convenience for shoppers, others believed that supermarkets, Tesco in particular, were too large and had a negative impact on society. This analysis reveals that arguments against Tesco received detailed coverage, particularly in the left-of-centre Guardian. Even so, only two of the five reformist narratives—local communities and the environment, and competition and consumers—had significant exposure. The Telegraph showed sympathy for some stakeholder concerns, but its journalism clearly supported the status quo. Although the BBC had the most balanced sourcing profile, it too generally followed the corporate narrative.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of RoehamptonLondonUK

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