Tesco’s cashing in on Polish food section

Tesco, the world?s seventh-largest retailer, is creating Polish-food sections in its British stores ? and two Polish companies are the first to cash in on the trend.The supermarket giant made the move because Poles are the fastest-growing ethnic market in the country. The last official census, in 2006, put the number of Poles in Britain at 600,000, but news organizations say the figure may be as high as 2 mln.Tesco also has a major presence in Poland, with 245 stores. ?Demand for Polish food and drink has been so overwhelming that it has become the fastest-growing ethnic food range ever launched in Britain,? the daily Telegraph quoted Elena Connell, the ethnic foods buying manager at Tesco, as saying.?But it?s not only our Polish customers who are buying these,? Connell said. ?Certain lines such as soft drinks, sweet delicacies and beer have become very popular with non-Poles.?The candy maker Jutrzenka in the northern Polish city of Bydgoszcz and the fruit and vegetable processor Dawtona in Blonie, 22 kilometers from Warsaw, have signed contracts for regular deliveries, according to the Polish business journal, ?Puls Biznesu.?Together, the companies will be making 180,000 pounds a week. Tesco said its Polish food sections, which will be in 350 of its 2,000 British shops, will offer 80 products. Other Polish companies are expected to get Tesco contracts soon. About a dozen are talking with the big retailer, Dziennik newspaper reported.One of the biggest is Maspex Wadowice Group, the largest manufacturer of instant products in Central and Eastern Europe. The company, which is 50 kilometers from Warsaw, is the market leader in juices, nectars and soft drinks in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia. Its lines also include cappuccino, cocoa, instant teas and cream for coffee.Another big player talking with Tesco is Sokolow SA, Poland?s largest meat company. It is based in Sokolow Podlaski, 80 kilometers east of Warsaw. Also in talks with the Britain-based retailer is Mispol, a producer and distributor of tinned meat, pates and prepackaged meals in Suwalki, in northeastern Poland.Others negotiating with Tesco include the sweets makers Wawel of Krakow and Cadbury Wedel of Warsaw.Last September, Tesco and its sister supermarket chain, Sainsbury?s, decided to cater to the exploding population of Poles living in Britain ? a group with a combined disposable income estimated at 4 bln pounds a year.Only five months into the retailing experiment, sales of Polish food had jumped tenfold. Because Poles are the fastest-growing community in Britain, anyone with retailing smarts is stepping up to provide them with products and services.Eighty-two percent of Poles in Britain are young ? 34 or less ? and single. But some have brought families, intent on schooling their children in the country and staying long term. To help spread the word about its Polish products, Tesco is planning its first Polish-language advertising campaign in Britain. Later it will advertise in English and Polish.Jack Cohen, the son of a Polish tailor, founded Tesco as a one-man business in London?s East End in the early 1900s. He gave it its name in 1924.Cohen bought a large shipment of tea from the company T.E. Stockwell. He used the first letters of the three parts of the supplier?s name ? TES ? and the first two letters of his surname ? CO ? to form the word TESCO.

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