Asda’s Just Essentials range has come under fire for its bright yellow branding, which some claim acts as a ‘poverty marker’, drawing unwanted attention to those buying the cheaper products.
The budget grocery range – which replaced Smart Price – hit shelves back in May, with the supermarket claiming it would help families feeling the pinch of soaring inflation prices. With more than 300 products now on offer, ranging from joints of beef to fresh fruit and vegetables, Just Essentials is the largest value range in the market.
At the time, Asda said the bright colour was to help the product stand out on shelf, as the “vibrant new yellow brand” would “help customers find products easily in stores and online”.
While many shoppers have have embraced the “cheaper than cheap” prices and recognise the benefits the affordable product line offers, others have been focusing on the look of the new range – in particular the colour.
Many believe the bright yellow packaging alludes to the ‘yellow stickers’ commonly seen in the reduced section of supermarkets, leading them to question whether or not Asda has taken shoppers’ dignity into account and criticising the supermarket for ’embarrassing poorer families’.
However, an Asda spokesperson told Grocery Gazette that the supermarket doesn’t “understand why anyone would feel embarrassed for saving money”.
Some on social media have posed the question of how some shoppers will feel “with their basket full of bright yellow labels”, suggesting that Asda may not have considered the immediate associations with having to shop on a small budget.
Probably too close to the stigmatised Kwiksave branding of the 90s. The way it screams ‘inferior product’ and that people on lower incomes don’t deserve nice design and should have a basket full of poverty markers.
I’ll get over it, but it feels like a big step backwards.
— Wilbur Mudd (@politicalfubol) July 16, 2022
What they have done is rebranded “Smartprice” into “Just essentials”, which has the most ridiculous bright yellow packaging now which just screams “WE ARE POOR!” for any shopper buying them.
My local Asda is awful for stock control, the shelves are always bare.
— Andrew Roberts 💬🏳️🌈 #PutinIsAWarCriminal (@AndyMRoberts) July 1, 2022
An Asda spokesperson told Grocery Gazette: “We don’t understand why anyone would feel embarrassed for saving money.”
“We are delighted by how much our customers are loving the new Just Essentials range, as shown by the great response and how they continue to add Just Essentials products to their basket every time they shop.”
With the cost of living going up and I know people are struggling.
Asda have brought out a new range called ’ just essentials ‘ new packaging in yellow. And it really is cheaper than cheap !!!!
— Em (@_EmmaLW_xo) August 6, 2022
asda’s just essentials range is honestly such a good idea im glad one supermarket isn’t just money grabbing
— jamie🍊 (@mchelcliffrd) August 7, 2022
Asda vice president of brand and propositions Sam Dickson has previously described the yellow look as a “bold brand that is hard to miss”.
The Big 4 grocer developed the Just Essentials by Asda after 90% of customers had said they were concerned about the cost-of-living crisis, with 44% of them saying they are “actively looking for ways to make their grocery budget go further”.
“Our mission is to meet all household needs through Just Essentials by Asda, and ensure that families can enjoy nutritious food, no matter their budget,” Dickson added.
The range was previously at the centre of controversy when Waitrose challenged Asda over the use of the Just Essentials brand name earlier this year.