BBC commissions series on supermarket chain Sainsbury’s

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

BBC One has commissioned ITN Productions to produce a six-part series following 12 months in the life of Sainsbury’s - Britain’s oldest supermarket.

With unprecedented access over the course of a year, Inside The Supermarket will follow the pivotal points of the retail calendar including Mother’s Day, Easter, the summer holidays and the run-up to Christmas.

Twenty six million people pass through Sainsbury’s doors every week, and with the pressures on retail, the continued Brexit uncertainty, and with increased competition from the discounters as well as online retailers, this is set to be one of Sainsbury’s most challenging years to date, the BBC said.

The six, one-hour programmes follow Sainsbury’s colleagues from the boardroom to the shop floor and across the country. 

Nationwide coverage

From one of Sainsbury’s biggest supermarkets - Hedge End in Southampton, which has over 600 employees - to the Sainsbury’s London headquarters, known as the Store Support Centre office, to its busiest northern depot at Haydock Park, Merseyside, which delivers 1.4 million crates of produce to stores every week, the series gives a multi-dimensional portrayal of the supermarket which this year marks its 150th birthday.

Cameras will join a Sainsbury’s team as they scour Britain for the next big food product, hunting down small suppliers who could see their fortunes transformed if Sainsbury’s backs their product; as well as a fashion graduate who, during her first year out of university, launches her clothing collection to the supermarket’s customers.

“This is a really interesting time for retail as a whole, and for supermarkets in particular”, said Emily Smith, BBC Commissioning Editor, Documentaries. 

Going behind the brand

“We all know Sainsbury’s, but we have little knowledge of all the challenges and decision-making that happen behind the shelves. 

“In this exciting time for retail, this multi-layered series will give us a fascinating and enjoyable insight into how Sainsbury’s staff navigate the ever-changing variables they’re faced from HQ to the shop floor - from changes in consumer behaviour and the supply chain to the growing competition.”

ITN Production’s Executive Producer, Will Smith, says: “We all shop in supermarkets like Sainsbury’s every week, but rush in and out with no thought of what goes on behind the scenes to put food on the shelves and on our tables. 

“From day-to-day forecasting and firefighting, we will follow the Supply Chain as they react to major events from heatwaves to summer holidays and back to school to the run up to Christmas. 

“This series will provide a unique picture of the British supermarket shopper: when we buy, how we buy and what we buy.”

The series was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of Content and Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Emily Smith. The Executive Producer for ITN Productions is Will Smith, the Series Producer is Anoushka Roberts and the Series Director is Chris Taylor.