Customers Weigh in on Fresh & Easy

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Customers Weigh in on Fresh & Easy

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Six of Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets opened to the world last week, and customers lined up to see if the retailer was all it has been made out to be. Then, they gave their opinions -- some positive, some negative -- to the world, through blogs and other published reports.

The Financial Times reported that a blog topic on the store in Hemet, Calif., gave a mixed review, but praised the ready-to-drink organic juices and 99-cent organic chocolate milk.

Another blogger, Frazgo at Metroblogging Los Angeles, visited the Fresh & Easy store in Arcadia, Calif., and observed the fresh and prepared foods.

"All told the prepared fresh stuff looked tasty. The heat and eat fresh selection was hugogigantic. The cheese section was really nice, bigger than the local Trader Joe's. Ditto the frozen food," the blog stated, as cited by the FT. It added: "I'll probably use it on those odd times when I need to grab something quick as I don't have time to cook a full meal if I am in the area."

In addition, customers on a local neighborhood forum in Glassell Park compared the retailer to gourmet grocer Trader Joe's, "but with mainstream brand names," according to the report. The user added the prices overall are "really good."

"I was impressed, for the most part, by the prices," the FT cited a user on Franklin Avenue Blogspot as stating. "Let's face it, another grocery option so close by is a good thing -- and a welcome addition to the working-class Glassell Park neighborhood."

One customer, Ruthann Robinson, who visits England twice a year, was enthusiastic about the products she found at a Fresh & Easy store. She complained to The Sunday Times she could never buy hummus in America that was as good as Tesco's.

"I checked, and it's the same recipe," she told the paper. "I even opened the package before I bought it to make sure, and it's delicious."

While Robinson was disappointed that the store did not sell English-style back bacon, she filled her cart with food that reminded her of London, including fig bread, cheddar and onion bahjis, the report stated.

But not all of Fresh & Easy's customers thought highly of the retailer.

Yoga teacher, Jamie Beaver, a resident of Hemet, Calif., told "I'm disappointed. They used words like fresh and organic in their publicity, so I thought it would be comparable to Trader Joe's. It isn't." She added "I've been watching them build the site and I was excited, but all I've bought today are some lemons because they smelled fresh, and large brown eggs from cage-free birds not given antibiotics or hormones. I thought they were good value at $1.98 a dozen."

Another customer criticized its product selection. Margaret Spencer, 65, told the Web site "I hoped it would be more like Trader Joe's because we try to eat healthily, but much of the stuff here is the kind you can get in the usual supermarkets, full of sugar, salt and chemicals."

She continued: "Even some of their own-label stuff seems not very healthy. And I hoped to be able to buy unpackaged stuff. I only wanted a couple of tomatoes, but I've had to buy a pack."