Former Sainsbury’s ambassador Jamie Oliver becomes new face of Tesco

Celebrity chef and one-time brand ambassador for Sainsbury’s Jamie Oliver has been revealed as the new face of rival Tesco.

The supermarket chain said Oliver would be working on its campaign to “help make it easier for the nation to eat well and live healthier lives” and front its ‘helpful little swaps’ in-store marketing initative.

The tie-up will also see him release a number of recipes and cooking tips for the retailer, which is evolving its long-running ‘Food Love Stories’ advertising.

Tesco’s top marketer Alessandra Bellini said of the partnership: “Jamie’s passion and skill to inspire a nation to cook, coupled with our experience and reach in providing millions of customers and colleagues with healthy, quality, affordable ingredients will be a great combination to help people take simple steps to leading healthier lives. This is a natural step in our ongoing work to make healthier eating a little easier.

“Together we want to make a real difference to our customers’ and colleagues’ health.”

Oliver’s fee and length of contract with Tesco has not been disclosed. During his time as a Sainsbury’s ambassador he appeared in over 100 adverts, reportedly earning in excess of £10m from the 11-year deal, which ended in 2011.

However, the relationship was said to be fraught with disagreements with then-chief executive Justin King, who was critical of Oliver’s aggressive stance on parents giving children food high in fat, sugar and salt.

Oliver was also said to have disagreed with bosses over its refusal to participate in his TV programme, 'Jamie's Fowl Dinners' on battery bred chickens (a show which also criticised Tesco, led by then-chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, for selling chickens for just £1.99)

However, the Oliver said Tesco has “consistently raised the bar” under the leadership of chief executive Dave Lewis, praising its food waste and Free Fruit for Kids programmes.

“This makes this partnership one of the most exciting opportunities to actually get Britain eating and celebrating more of their five fruit and veg a day," he went on.

"I’m going to work really hard to respond to the different seasons and what the customer is asking for, by creating exciting meals, short-cuts and tips that get people really fired up to cook. Tesco’s part is to make it easier and more affordable.”

The announcement came in tandem with research from the retailer into the opinions of over 2,000 people on how supermarkets promote healthy food choices.

It found that seven out of 10 families think supermarkets should do more to help people make healthier choices while 70% said they would like more practical advice and inspiration on healthier alternatives.