Tesco’s price war with Aldi and Lidl exposed as supermarket giant ‘fighting back’

The UK’s largest food retailer enjoys more than 25 percent of the market, placing it top of the Big Four supermarkets, alongside Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons. Founded in 1919 by Jack Cohen, the group has since diversified both geographically and into other retail areas in the Nineties, which saw Tesco reposition itself from a low-cost retailer to one that appeals to many social groups by offering a range of own-label selections, from ‘Tesco Value’ items to its ‘Tesco Finest’ range. But, in that time, German discounters Aldi and Lidl have soared in popularity among Britons, mainly spurred on from the financial crisis of 2008, and now the pair hold just shy of 14 percent of the market.

Presenter Jonathan Maitland revealed during ITV’s ‘The Rise of Discount Supermarkets’ how Tesco is planning to “fight back”.

He said in 2014: “The big supermarkets are under attack on price and quality, but they are fighting back.

“The sight of so many posh shoppers going to Aldi and Lidl has made them react aggressively and inventively to try and keep the customers coming to big out-of-town superstores.

“Where once supermarkets had been accused of killing off the high-street, today some of them seem to be trying to emulate it with opticians, phone shops, trendy cafes inside the store.

“On top of that, they’re now offering usually large discounts on hundreds of products.”

Mr Maitland spoke to former CEO Philip Clarke, who revealed the company’s plan for the years ahead.

He said: “Tesco is the biggest, and so it has the most to lose.

“I’m not worried, we spent a couple of years working out what it is we need to do.

“Prices are coming down on food and the cost of delivery charges are coming down for those who want to order online.

“So we really are now bringing the value back to Tesco.”

Mr Clarke said Tesco would also pursue a vision to offer more diversity than the discounters.

He added: “We don’t see ourselves being distracted at all.

“If the price, quality range and the service aren’t right in the store, then customers will think about going somewhere else and that’s exactly what we are working to improve.

“We’ll be working to differentiate ourselves from our competitors this year, 650 neighbourhoods around the UK get a new Tesco – that’s one that’s already there – that we are going to re-do, refresh.

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“There will be new products, new services, more clothing, more general merchandise – but above all else – the whole business will have sharper prices, better quality, that’s where it all starts.”

Tesco has shown its further dedication to this philosophy recently, announcing last month that it will start to price match some of its products with Aldi.

The initiative includes both branded and own-label goods such as Tesco cucumbers and Warburtons Toastie sliced white bread.

Price of products will be checked twice a week, with those included in the campaign marked out with a distinctive red ‘Aldi Price Match’ bubble.

Tesco says the move will offer “products at Aldi prices for simple, great value”.

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Career horoscope Cancer: 2020 insights for Cancer star sign

A horoscope is a forecast of a person’s future based on positions of stars and planets at the time of a person’s birth. This then creates different attributes for each star sign, creating a horoscope. Each star sign has different attributes including personality traits, love matches and career prospects so what are the career prospects for Cancer this year?

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Cancer is a cardinal water sign and is represented by the crab.

Belonging to an element of water, they are guided by emotion and their heart. This means they can sometimes have a hard time fitting into the world around them.

People born in Cancer will be quite lucky in 2020. Even though they don’t generally believe in luck, money or fortune, 2020 will be a prosperous year for them.

Astrology.com says: “With Mars spending half of 2020 in his home sign of Aries (your career house), you’ll have even more energy than usual for initiating new business ventures and pursuing long-term goals.

“The only trouble? You’re likely to come up with more bright ideas than you can realistically accomplish at once.”

Cancer tends to be really creative and because of this trait loves to come up with different ideas.

However in 2020, they must learn that projects take time and only one can be completed at any one time.

Horoscope.com says: “Intuition. Affiliated with Artemis, goddess of the hunt, Cancer knows which way the wind will blow, work-wise, before there’s a memo or email.”

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Cancer is adept at reading people and represented by the Crab, are very respected in managerial positions who guide their colleagues.

This year Cancer’s amazing people skills lets him or her choose people who will flourish in their career.

This star sign loves being independent and is a huge trait when it comes to the office.

Cancer doesn’t necessarily love the structure of office like and this sign may produce their best work in their own time.

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Therefore this year Cancer will come up with some amazing projects from the very comfort of their own home.

This is because Cancer tend to stay clear of drama and at home they can do so.

They must make sure however that this doesn’t interrupt their office life and still work as hard as they can in the office.

If they do work hard this year, December will bring financial gains for Cancer and they will reap the benefits around the end of December.

While cancer isn’t driven by money, like many other star signs in the Zodiac, they wish for the best life possible and in order to maintain a good relationship with their partner, this year they may not take their dream job they have been offered.

Horoscope.com says: “Intellectual, creative, and incredibly good at reading people and knowing what they need, Cancer excels at careers that combine those three talents.

“Crabs prefer to make their own hours (or be the boss!) and excel in environments where they can help drive their own schedule and agenda.”

Cancer will expand their profession networks this year and upgrade their office technology that they have wanted to do so for many years.

This will help them set bigger and better goals for the future and in 2020 they must keep an open mind and take each thing as it comes.

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Melania Trump with Barron: First Lady’s shock revelation – lets son do this in bedroom

Melania Trump is world famous now, as the wife of the President of the United States. First Lady is a busy job, despite not being a paid role for women married to the president.

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However, former-model Melania has claimed there is one job that will always be the most important to her.

The First Lady was born in Slovenia, and moved to the US to pursue modelling at 18.

She had Barron in March 2006, the year after she married Donald, and she was 36 at the time.

Melania told Parenting: “I am a full-time mom; that is my first job. The most important job ever.”

At the time of giving the interview Melania was running her own jewellery line.

She revealed that even though she had interesting as a sideline, parenting Barron was most important.

Melania said: “When he is in school I do my meetings, my sketches, and everything else.”

Shockingly, to many mothers, Melania revealed she was happy to let Barron draw on his bedrooms walls, even in their £10.7m New York apartment.

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Melania told the publication: “His imagination is growing and important.

“He draws on the walls in his playroom, we can paint it over.

“One day he was playing bakery and he wrote Barron’s Bakery on the wall with crayons. He is very creative, if you say to a child no, no, no, where does the creativity go?”

She went on: “I think it’s important to give a child room to make mistakes in order to learn. Mistakes build wings so later in life they can fly and go on their own.”

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Yesterday Melania Trump wore a black midi dress and £560 heels in Washington.

She was with Donald to pay her respects at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine.

Melania opted for a muted look as she joined the US President in Washington.

The US First Lady posted a selection of pictures from the shrine on her Instagram.

Sources revealed that Melania Trump and Barron were taken to a bunker with Donald Trump last week. 

Donald was taken to an an underground bunker amid protests yesterday.

A White House Official and law enforcement source told CNN the president was there for little under an hour.

The protests were a result of the death of George Floyd, a black man, died after a white police officer held him to the ground in Minneapolis.

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Career horoscope Taurus: 2020 insights for Taurus star sign

A horoscope is a forecast of a person’s future based on the positions of the stars and planets at the certain time someone was born. Each star sign has different attributes that build their horoscope including personality traits, love matches and career prospects. Here are the career prospects for Taurus this year.

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The formulation of this star sign is a bull and Taureans can be one of two paces – slow and steady, or ready to charge and this applies in their jobs too.

They have a reputation of being one of the hardest working signs in the Zodiac, and work is a very important aspect to life for this star sign.

Taureans won’t blink at pulling an all-nighter to get whatever job they need done.

The greatest career strength for this star sign is persistence.

Horoscope.com says: “Persistence. A Taurus will look at a project, break it down into steps, and get things done, even if it means burning the midnight oil. Taurus never utters the words “too busy” and quickly becomes a cherished member of any work team.”

Bulls are amazing project managers, able to think of great ideas and very good at delegating. A Taurus would much prefer a day of checking things off their to-do-list to spending hours in endless meetings. This year, Taurus will reap the benefits of their hard work.

Taurus Horoscope 2020 says that the lunar eclipse may cause Taureans to have encountered some difficulties in their work and career life.

However you will find you have lots of energy and drive and enjoy a greater level of success than in previous years.

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It says: “You might find that changing jobs to something more exciting will be a desire during the summer months.

“It could happen suddenly and you simply want to guard against your impulsive decisions.”

Those who currently don’t have a job will encounter trials and obstacles in getting one this year but will face them with courage.

In 2020, this stat sign’s finances could improve greatly. They may find themselves more stable and secure in the areas of money.

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Taurus Horoscope 2020 says: “A dramatic increase is not likely but applying discipline in the areas of work with a more organised and developed plan, while building a daily regime in other areas will lend the discipline that results in financial security, stability, and structure.”

This year will see Taurus aiming high but also reaping the benefits that this year has to offer for Taurus.

September will be a productive month for this star sign which will bring success and accomplishments for the Taurus. The workload may be greater but this star sign knows how to handle that.

December will promise increased changes of promotion and recognition due to all your hard work in the workplace.

Horoscope.com says: “With above-board ethics, dependability, and resourcefulness, Taurus is in demand on the job front. With the attributes of persistence and thoroughness (as well as the allure of a big paycheck to finance a luxurious lifestyle), the Bull can undoubtedly build a sound career.”

Suitable jobs for this star sign include executive, chef, politician, architect and biologist.

These jobs are suitable for a Taurus because one of their biggest traits is being persistent.

Therefore in these jobs they will work hard until they achieve that they want to.

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James Blunt net worth: You’re Beautiful singer has eye-watering fortune

James Blunt is best-known for being a singer and songwriter. He started releasing music in 2004 and soon gained fans from all over the world. How much money does he have?

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James Blunt net worth

The singer has a fortune of around £14.5million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

He was born in Hampshire in 1974 into a military family.

While James is well known for his singing career, he did not release music until he was 30-years-old.

Before that, he studied sociology at the University of Bristol and gained his fixed winged private pilot licence.

After being sponsored through university by the military, James started to build his bank balance with a career in the forces.

While serving in the British Army Life Guards, he rose to the rank of captain.

Those serving as a captain now could reportedly earn around £42,009 per annum.

During his time in the army, James still had an interest in music and spent his time off writing songs.

He left the forces after six years and started to pursue a career in music.

In 2003, James signed a record contract with the newly launched Custard Records label and started to record his first album.

His debut album Back to Bedlam was released the following year but he struggled to gain recognition with his first two singles.

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It wasn’t until James released his third single, You’re Beautiful, that he shot to fame, landing a UK number one.

Not only was it well received in the UK, he enjoyed success in Europe and the record entered the top 10 in the US single charts.

His debut album went on to sell an impressive 11.2million copies across the world and was branded the fastest selling album in one year.

As well as earning money from releasing music, James has toured across the world.

He has released a total of six albums which are sure to have contributed to his wealth.

The singer also has money in property, owning a home in Ibiza and a chalet and restaurant in the Swiss town of Verbier.

James has also had endorsement deals and featured in advertising campaigns for Hilton Hotels, Sprint telecommunications and The National Lottery.

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Wine tasting at home: How to learn the art of wine tasting from your sofa

There’s more to wine than the initial taste. In a few simple steps, you will be able to spot subtle differences between wines. Aldi reveals how to master wine tasting at home.

Smell

You don’t really wine taste, you actually wine smell, says Aldi’s wine experts.

Swirling the wine around in the glass enables you to do this much more effectively so it’s a crucial step in assessing wine.

Aroma plus taste equals flavour.

Go with the grape

With the wealth of wines now available, it can sometimes be overwhelming when picking wines.

If you don’t know where to start, start with the grape variety. This is the best indication as to what a wine will taste like.

Wines are all made from different grape varieties that subtly taste of different things and create wines with different structures too. For example, medium-bodied.

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Do your research

A little bit of knowledge can go a long way. Swotting up on different wines from across the globe and the grape varieties available in certain countries will make a huge difference.

Old World wines (from Europe) are usually labelled by region and not grape variety.

Chablis for example is a place in France, where the wines are made from Chardonnay and Rioja is in Spain, where the majority of wines are red and made predominantly from the Tempranillo grape.

When buying wines from the Old World therefore it really pays to learn what grape varieties are grown where.

So, if you know you like Sauvignon Blanc, then a Sancerre could be a good choice and if you’re a fan of Chianti wines then Sangiovese could be the grape for you.

Match the food to the wine

When it comes to food and wine matching, the two key things to remember are to match the weight of the wine to the weight of the dish.

Light seafood works well with light whites but a big steak would benefit from a big red wine.

It’s always useful to bear in mind the saying ‘what grows together goes together’.

For example, Italian wine tends to work really well with Italian food!

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Chill out

It’s not always wrong to chill red wine! As a rule of thumb however, only chill light-bodied wines.

Cooling fruity red wines accentuates the tannins (the drying sensation you can get from red wines in the mouth) and slightly mutes the fruit so if you have a light red, it can handle some chilling.

To put this to the test, try a bottle of Aldi’s Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir

Decanting

Got a decanter handy? That’s a plus.

Most red wines will benefit from a bit of air so decanting wine not only helps you look like a pro but allows the wine to ‘breathe’ so you can more easily enjoy those all-important aromas.

Storage

The way you store your wine is important, too.

If stoppered with a cork, wine should always be laid horizontally once bought so that the it doesn’t dry out.

However, sparkling wines and corks closed under screw cap can be kept upright.

Out and about

When you are in a restaurant and you are brought the wine to taste, the purpose is for you to check that the wine is ‘clean’.

It’s your job to ensure there are no obvious faults in the wine (such as the wine being corked) and you are happy to take it.

Again, if you swirl the wine here before tasting it, it will look impressive!

A corked wine does not mean there are bits of cork in it from a carelessly opened bottle, it is when there is a mouldy, slightly woody, earthy smell to the wine that has come from a tainted cork.

So if a wine smells musty, it could well be corked!

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How to stay motivated: Rugby icon Jonny Wilkinson reveals secret to exercising in lockdown

Jonny Wilkinson has changed his mantra since his rugby union days. The ex fly-half admittedly took a “no pain, no gain” approach to his training, but is taking a kinder approach towards his body and mind today. Wilkinson previously saw his body as a vessel for success in the game. Now, however, he believes in listening and working with your body. Many Brits are seeking to improve their health and mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 crisis, and this is a journey Wilkinson has found himself on since retiring. Express.co.uk spoke to Wilkinson about how to stay motivated with your health and fitness routine during lockdown.

During Wilkinson’s time as an English rugby union player in a number of teams, he struggled with mental health issues concerning his identity and ability to live in the present.

This meant his health was pushed aside in favour of fitness and explained he saw his body as a functional tool.

Wilkinson said: “Being a rugby player was what I was always about. Health became fitness and being became doing.

“It was all about what I could do physically and the things I can achieve.”

Today, Wilkinson, who is a Puressentiel brand ambassador, is focussed on health rather than fitness, and expressing passion in movement.

The rugby star redefined what exercise, fitness, and health mean to him.

He said: “The potential turn-off when starting to exercise is that you think it will take you a long time to get healthy, and it’s something you don’t want to do.”

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How to stay motivated – according to Jonny Wilkinson

No time limit

He said: “The definition of exercise itself already includes a lot of things people tend to dislike.

“On top of that, telling them you have to do it for a certain amount of time makes them dislike it even more.”

Wilkinson’s new definition is to do a certain movement with no time limit.

He said: “Understand that you can do it on day one for a minute, and on day two maybe a for bit longer.”

Leave yourself wanting more

Sometimes you are better off stopping a workout while you are enjoying it than continuing until you are totally fed up.

Wilkinson said: “Find something you enjoy and do it until you feel like the enjoyment is gone.

“Alternatively, enjoy it for a bit and leave yourself wanting more.

“You will stop and think ‘I was really enjoying that, and I would love to do that again soon.’”

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Do what you enjoy

If you don’t enjoy the new exercise you are trying, you don’t have to do it.

Wilkinson advised: “Get out there and find something that you do like doing, or that you might enjoy doing, or might be curious about doing.

“If you don’t like it by day two, change what you’re doing!

“There’s no requirement with health and fitness that you have to keep doing the same thing every day, or that you can only do certain things.

“Some people get to the gym and think they have to get on the rowing machine for half an hour, even when they hate it.

“It’s a lose-win scenario, and probably not even much of a win.

“When you turn it into a win-win, exercise becomes about expressing your being rather than searching for your being.

Follow your passion

Wilkinson said: “For me, the key is expressing passions with movement.

“If there’s ever a case of ‘I have to do this’ in order to feel a certain way, then I know there is an opportunity being missed.

“With exercise, if it is something you have to do then you find a way to find a way to be passionate and engaged in it.

“In rugby we had to do fitness tests, and you find a way to make yourself want to do it.

“You win because you actually want to do it, and you get the results you want.

“Redefine what fitness and health means to you and know that society’s view of what you need to wear, do, or how long you need to do it for may not be right for you.”

Exercise without exercising

You don’t need to have all the gear to exercise.

He said: “Take a look at what we all do in a day: walking around our homes, going to the shops, getting in and out of cars, going for a ride on your bike, getting in and out of bed.

“It’s all exercise, it’s all movement. People assume that it’s only exercise if you step into a gym or put a pair of trainers on, but that’s not the case.”

Puressentiel

Having a clear, focused head helps with creating that motivational factor and part of gaining that clarity lies in the oxygen we breathe in, vital not just for our physical lung and body health needs, but key to our mind health.  

But breathing in good, clean air within the home is a must and that means breathing in air that is not full of pollutants which can affect our health, wellbeing and thinking pathways – all vital for motivational levels and clear thinking.

Puressentiel’s Purifying Air Spray is a broad-acting air purifier that has been proven to tackle indoor air pollution and includes 41 proven essential oils which also combat other nasties not good for our wellness, like airborne bacteria and fungal spores.

He said: “While the air we breathe is essential to life, looking after our bodies is too.

“My mantra is you have to understand how to listen to your body, and work with it.

“Don’t break your body by pushing it beyond its limits when your muscles and joints are not 100%. Take time out and rest.

“Using the Puressentiel therapies born out of nature, are now some of the solutions I adopt to get back on the exercise track.

“I am fitter today than ever. When I was playing, I saw my body as a functional tool. Now I know that your body is most powerful when you listen to it, and work with it.”

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Lungs play live stream: How to watch Claire Foy and Matt Smith in Old Vic play

People missing out on the joys of watching live performances have no need for melancholy as Claire Foy and Matt Smith are due to return to the stage in June for a series of “socially distanced performances” of the hit play Lungs. But how exactly can you watch this acting duo in the Old Vic theatre play?

Claire Foy and Matt Smith acted side-by-side in the first two seasons of Netflix’s The Crown.

The iconic pair will reprise their roles as the couple in Duncan MacMillan’s play for several live performances in June.

The actors will act in an empty Old Vic theatre and viewers will be able to watch their performance online.

The British actors have returned to the stage in a bid to help the Old Vic theatre in London which is said to be in a “seriously perilous” condition.

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The Old Vic in London is one of the UK’s oldest and most illustrious theatres.

The theatre’s artistic director Matthew Warchus told the Guardian: “We are all puzzling away, thinking hard about how we can respond to this situation and what our creative input can be.

“There are some bright people on those calls.

“We are mostly stumped because our hands are tied behind our backs: if you can’t bring performers and creatives together, with an audience, you’re incredibly limited.”

He explained 80 percent of the organisation’s staff is on the furlough scheme and many theatre staff have taken a 20 percent pay cut.

Like all theatres across Britain, the Old Vic has been closed since March when the lockdown began.

Some theatres have been entitled to help from the Arts Council England’s £160m emergency relief fund.

But the Old Vic is not eligible for this funding.

In a statement, the theatre said: “Significant support is urgently needed if we are to emerge from this crisis still able to deliver exciting entertainment and social benefit.”

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How can you watch Lungs online?

The revival of Lungs will be launched in the Old Vic in June.

Each performance of Lungs will be limited to 1,000 viewers, mimicking the venues actual capacity.

Viewers will be asked to pay between £10 and £65 to watch online.

They will select a seat and ticket price as normal, but in reality, will all be given the same view.

Several theatre companies have released shows online in recent months, but most were recorded before lockdown or have been filmed in the actors’ homes.

However, this performance will be aired from the empty Old Vic theatre.

Entertainment venues such as theatres and cinemas are likely to be closed to audiences until July 4 according to the Government’s lockdown easing plan.

Tickets will soon on sale for a socially distanced version of the sellout 2019 performance.

Currently, tickets are not yet available, but the theatre has advised interested individuals to sign up to their newsletter to receive updates.

You can see any updates here.

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Aldi’s ‘unthinkable’ move to boost UK appeal with new layout exposed

Aldi, which was founded by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht in 1946, has become a British favourite since it launched its first shop in the UK on April 5, 1990, with 874 branches now located across Britain, accounting to eight percent of the UK grocery market sales this year. But when the supermarket first came on the scene, it was shunned by the Big Four and consumers alike, who did not warm to its no-frills approach on shopping, stocking much fewer items than the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda while focusing on cost-cutting at any means. While Aldi enjoyed a big change in mindset following the 2008 recession, it has also made some “unthinkable” decisions more recently questioning its core principles, which has allowed the German discounter to leapfrog the likes of Waitrose and the Co-op.

Its crafty plan was revealed by retail journalist Xan Rice during Channel 5’s “Inside Aldi documentary,” who said in March: “They must have sensed that they needed to do a little more, they can’t just be this stripped-down anonymous model.

“People want to feel a part of something.

“Aldi has been quite rigid in its business model up to now, sticking to what works in Germany, then it just tailored things to attract British customers.

“But they have now adopted the slogan ‘championing British quality’ that you will see on all its trucks.”

Former head of Lidl UK, Ronny Gottschlich, gave an insight into why the supermarket had made the decision recently to appear more British.

He added: “They started to think ‘okay, British people need to shop and eat in the way Germans want.’

“But it took them a good 10 or 15 years to understand the shop is completely different.”

Consumer writer Harry Wallop detailed how the company has slowly adapted more of a British feel.

He added: “Now, you walk into Aldi and you would think it was a British supermarket.

“There are Union Jacks plastered everywhere.

“They did a very canny move of sponsoring the British athletics team.”

The narrator of the documentary revealed one moment that apparently pushed the retailer to go headfirst into backing British products.

He said: “Appealing to the typical Brit even influenced a new layout, almost unthinkable in Aldi’s home country.

“Aldi’s British makeover went deeper than mere appearance, the company had good reason to embrace British suppliers.

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“In 2013, it was involved in a food scandal, horse meat was discovered in burgers and lasagne across a number of its UK supermarkets.

“Most of it had been sourced by foreign meat suppliers.”

But marketing expert John Lowery explained one of the key layout changes that was made, that many may not have even noticed.

He said: “When you’re confronted by boxes of cereal, which is what it used to look like when you went to Aldi, it’s actually a little off-putting.

“Aldi did calculations and worked out whether or not it made sense to move the vegetables and fruit to the front of the store.

“They got more people through the door as a consequence.”

Mr Gottschlich explained why this was so out of character for Aldi, but added that the supermarket still upholds its core values.

He said: “Germans wouldn’t mind if a supermarket doesn’t look so beautiful.

“Now it’s a British look and feel car with a German engine still running silently in the background.”

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Migraine: How to prevent migraine

A migraine is a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head. The sensation often causes people to feel sick, and be increasingly sensitive to light and sound. Some have them every day, others only have one every few years. Express.co.uk spoke to Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer to find out how to beat your migraine.

What are the symptoms of migraine?

Around 190,000 migraine attacks are experienced every single day in England, and nearly six million people suffer from the painful condition in the UK.

Migraine affects women more commonly, with around five to 25 percent of women suffering from the condition compared to two to 10 percent of men.

Every migraine sufferer experiences different attacks, Ms Sawyer said.

She said: “From a severe, throbbing headache, often just affecting one side of the head to pain that can drain down the face or side to side and is frequently joined by nausea, to vomiting and visual disturbances such as flashing lights.”

What causes migraines?

Unfortunately, it is not known for certain what causes a migraine.

Ms Sawyer said: “While the causes of migraine are still largely unknown, this complex condition is certainly not just a vascular headache but more a disorder of the nervous system function which causes inflammatory changes in pain-sensitive parts of the brain.

“This does make treatment options very challenging. And while there is currently no cure for migraine, a better understanding of the condition and its physiology are helping bring much-needed relief for sufferers.”

Read on to find out the top migraine triggers and Ms Sawyer’s top how to calm your headaches down.

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Stress

If you are experiencing a migraine for the first time in your life during lockdown, your trigger could be stress.

Ms Sawyer said: “Research shows that stress for many migraine sufferers is a trigger and an identifiable ‘tipping point’.

“It’s no secret that the whole world has been coping with extreme stress over the last few months.

“While we can’t influence lots of what’s going on in the outside world, and indeed within our own lives, there are certainly some really effective herbal helpers to support the body during stressful times and a potential helper for migraine sufferers where stress is the core trigger.

“The herb Rhodiola Rosea, has long been used in traditional herbal remedies.

“Known as an adaptogen (just like ginseng), Rhodiola has a balancing effect on the body, plus helps overcome feelings of anxiety and fatigue, and could prove useful in the battle against migraine.

“Vitano Rhodiola tablets a natural herbal supplement which can help with the temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress such as fatigue and exhaustion.”

Poor diet

We all know what you put into your body will impact your health and your diet plays a role in triggering migraines too.

Ms Sawyer said: “What we eat has a massive effect on overall health, but certain foods or additives used in food processing are known to be problematic to migraine sufferers.”

She went on to reveal a list of foods to limit or completely shun if you are a migraine sufferer.

She said: “For example, aged cheeses contain the amino acid, tyramine.
“Other foods and drinks with amines are red wine, beer, fermented meats, sauerkraut, mushrooms, chocolate, miso, and soy sauce.

“Monosodium glutamate (MSG), generally an ingredient in soy sauce is another known trigger, therefore Chinese foods are a big ‘no-no’.

“Also watch out for caffeine (fizzy drinks often contain caffeine), citrus fruits, cultured dairy products such as kefir and yoghurt, shellfish, and wheat-based foods (wheat is a known allergen).

“Unfortunately, foods containing wheat such as bread, pasta, cereals, cakes and biscuits should be avoided for this reason when trying to identify triggers.”

It may sound as if lots of food groups are out of bounds when battling a migraine, but that is not true.

Ms Sawyer said: “There’s still plenty of delicious, healthy foods to be enjoyed.”

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Migraine-friendly foods, like those high in protein and full of colour, include:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Eggs
  • All fish (not tinned)
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Beetroot
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Blueberries

Balanced hormones

Have your migraines crept up on you during a time of hormonal change? This is no coincidence.

Ms Sawyer said: “One of the most common migraine triggers, particularly for women are hormonal fluctuations that naturally occur around puberty, period-time, pregnancy, and menopause.

“Thankfully though, many women do find things improve after the menopause and hormones settle, although that may still be a long time to wait.

“It’s important to recognise that nothing works in isolation within the body and one body system is closely related to another.”

So how do you regulate your hormones?

Ms Sawyer said: “None more so when discussing hormones are those involved with blood sugar balance.

“These relate very closely to sex hormones, sleep, appetite, mood, stress, inflammation and so much more.

“It’s especially important when managing migraine to keep blood sugar levels in good balance.

“This means eating protein at every meal, avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol and reducing the intake of highly refined sugary foods.

“These often contain sweeteners, another known migraine aggravator.

“Taking a high-quality daily supplement specially formulated for women is worth considering, such as an Alive! multi-vitamin, available in tablet and gummy formats, which contain specific nutrients for hormonal balance.

“Specifically, for men of all ages, Alive! Ultra Men’s Energy Wholefood Plus contains high levels of stress-busting B-vitamins as well as calming magnesium.”

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Environmental factors

Certain environmental factors such as sunlight, bright lights and ones that flicker and flash can bring on a migraine attack.

Intense penetrating smells of smoke-filled rooms are other triggers.

Strangely, changes in barometric pressure or lots of noise can often affect sufferers.

Ms Sawyer advised: “Clearly, there is little that can be influenced by these factors, other than avoiding certain situations as much as possible.

“If you’re struggling to find the causes (and remembering it may well be multi-factorial) then keep a daily diary noting your routine, weather patterns, food and of course any symptoms.

“And for most women, tracking their menstrual cycle and hormone challenges is just a normal part of daily life!

“We all know the importance of getting plenty of restorative sleep with too many late nights taking their toll on energy levels, mood, eating patterns and how we look and feel generally.

“Clearly, long-haul travel has been severely curtailed over recent months which further disrupts sleep patterns, but events of this year have had a worsening effect on sleep and emotional wellbeing generally.

“For migraine sufferers, this will have only exacerbated the condition.

“Sleep needs to be prioritised with electronic devices turned off at least two hours before bedtime, and a strong bedtime routine put in place. It works for babies!

“Herbal remedies combining Valerian and Passionflower, such as Bonuit Sleep Aid tablets will help you to get to sleep more quickly and also sustain sleep.”

Lack of exercise

If your exercise routine has been knocked down a peg in lockdown, you may be experiencing more migraines.

Ms Sawyer said: “Lack of exercise is a known trigger for migraine attacks but also delivers a wealth of physical and emotional benefits.

“It’s amazing just how refreshing a brisk walk can feel, and it’s a great stress buster too.

“Walking encourages good blood flow around the body and brain.

“Plus, it provides a great opportunity to put on your headphones and listen to a podcast or some of your favourite sounds; all very positive for migraine sufferers.

“Try to get outside for at least an hour, or more, every day.

“There’s no shortage of exercise options with a myriad of classes and programmes being run virtually as well as loads available outdoors.”

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