Tesco aims to harness taste of expecting mothers

  • Tuesday 23 March 2004

UK supermarket Tesco has a new secret tasting weapon - ‘super-sensitive’ pregnant women.

Under ‘Operation Cot du Rhône’, which will be introduced in six months, Tesco expects expecting members of the general public to sample wines in in-store tasting rooms.

The idea of using mothers-to-be as super-tasters was hatched as the giant supermarket’s wine department was hit by a spate of pregnancies.

Although the theory is scientifically unfounded, wine department head Helen McGinn, who is six months pregnant, believes the sense of taste is heightened during pregnancy.

‘Every pregnant woman will tell you her taste buds change. Her sense of taste heightens. This is a chance to recruit super-sensitive taste buds,’ she said.

Although still in its embryonic stage, the operation is expected to get under way in September and deliver feedback on the Tesco wine range and its quality.

The idea has not been well received in medical quarters. Dr Doris Campbell of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology told the BBC she thought it might be a publicity stunt. She also knocked back claims of heightened taste during pregnancy.

‘I know of no evidence that taste is enhanced in that sense during pregnancy,’ she said, adding she was concerned the plan might tempt pregnant women to drink more heavily.

McGinn refutes this, saying that drinking habits are up to the individual.

‘The emphasis here is definitely on tasting wine, not drinking it,’ she said.

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