Tesco: taking content experiences online

Teaching families to cook during lockdown 

At the start of 2021, research revealed that a shocking four million people in the UK – including 2.3 million children – were regularly cutting portion sizes, skipping meals or going hungry.*  
During lockdown, Tesco had stepped up its work with FareShare and The Trussell Trust to support these families, but as Tesco’s content agency we knew we could help raise the bar even higher.  
But how best to reach those in need when social distancing measures were still in place?  

In just eight weeks, we built a microsite (including website UX and content design) and, working in partnership with Jamie Oliver, created eight videos and delivered three ‘as live’ cookery lessons between March and May. 

*Sources: The Food Foundation; YouGov Sept 2020

‘Live’ online cookery classes

Tesco Community Cookery School (TCCS) had been launched in 2019, in association with Jamie Oliver and food redistribution charity FareShare. But by 2021, many of these community groups were closed, with families struggling to eat healthily.  

The idea was to 'virtually' train 300 volunteers (working at food banks and community groups) who in turn would teach vulnerable families how to cook nutritious, affordable meals using surplus food.

Planning how-to videos at speed 

Briefed days before Christmas, we had just eight working weeks till launch. The key to getting this project up and running was agility and collaboration.  

After discussions with expert tutors at Jamie’s Ministry of Food, we created a series of pre-recorded classes to clearly communicate all the detailed information that community cooks would need to teach people, often with limited food knowledge and equipment. 

Building a bespoke microsite 

To ensure the effective delivery of the programme, we had to design a closed site, enabling us to host and live-stream the three lessons. It also provided a place for participants to access downloadable teaching materials and monitor their progress through the course, encouraging them to come back to rewatch lessons.  
After writing all the site copy, we worked with Tesco and Jamie Oliver to develop eight video scripts, and the shoots happened when stringent Covid-19 regulations were in place.  
At each event, we provided moderation to create an ‘as-live’ feel to the lesson, answering the community cooks’ questions in real time, with detailed FAQs acting as a script. We also produced email comms to keep people coming back for more, and a graduation video to help participants celebrate.  

Smashing industry standards

Three-quarters of those invited attended Lesson 1, and most stayed to the very end of the class. The subsequent two lessons performed similarly and feedback for all events was extremely positive. ‘Honestly, this has helped my confidence with teaching so much,’ said community cook Danielle Chamberlain.  
While the fight to end food poverty rages on, we like to think that this innovative, interactive content has gone some way towards connecting communities and providing healthier diets for families in need.  


Number of cooks trained to teach vulnerable families

1 hr 4 mins

Average watch time of first lesson

‘Our classes have helped cooks pass on their knowledge, and given families the confidence they need to make healthy dishes from scratch’

Jamie Oliver