A Tesco supermarket exterior in the early morning before the shoppers arrive.

Alastair Wallace/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘I love you more than a late-night trip to Tesco’: Why do British people romanticize this supermarket so much?

‘They should turn Buckingham Palace into a big Tesco.’


Tomasz Lesniara


In 2022, a TikTok user known as @harrythesequel posted a video of himself making a journey to a branch of Tesco, arguably Great Britain’s most popular supermarket. There wouldn’t be anything strange about this, if not for a carefree song that Harry recorded and used as the soundtrack for his post. “I’m absolutely off my nut to go to big Tesco”, the lyrics manifest. 

The video has since acquired more than 63,000 likes, and its charming sound has been used in nearly a thousand other videos. It turns out Harry is not the only one who enjoys trips to a “big Tesco.”

@harrythesequel My girlfriend had no reaction when I showed her this #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #uk #bigtesco ♬ Big Tesco – harryphdsmith

Founded in 1919 in London, Tesco is one of the most popular British supermarkets. As one of the largest grocery retailers in the world, it also operates in countries other than the U.K., such as Ireland, Hungary, or Slovakia. In Great Britain and Ireland, there are different types of Tesco stores, depending on size. The biggest one, which can often be bigger than 60,000 square feet, is called Tesco Extra, and commonly known as a “big Tesco” among the public.

While “I’m absolutely off my nut to go to big Tesco” is a cute and funny TikTok sound, it happens to represent a deeper trend, which has impacted the British digital culture in recent years. Everyone seems to be crazy about Tesco, despite the brand’s numerous competitors. German discount giants Lidl and Aldi are hugely popular, especially since the pandemic, and a roaring cost of living crisis, which came afterward. Those craving fancy party food, great quality meat, and expensive liquor are likely to spend their pounds and pennies at upmarket retailers, such as Waitrose or M&S. So, why did these brands fail to impact the digital landscape the same way as Tesco?

@harrythesequel My girlfriend had no reaction when I showed her this #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #uk #bigtesco ♬ Big Tesco – harryphdsmith

A simple search for “Tesco” on TikTok, Instagram, or Twitter is enough to witness the iconic status of the brand. There are clips of Tesco staff members dancing, memes presenting Buckingham Palace as a branch of Tesco Extra, or TikTok videos made by people who treat a trip to Tesco like a celebration. One of the U.K.’s biggest greeting card retailers has gone as far as to sell a card that reads “I love you more than a late night trip to Tesco”.

TikTok user Erin, who lives in England, is one of the many people who recorded themselves having fun at a local Tesco Extra. Her post is one of the most popular videos representing this trend, with more than 284,000 likes. In the video, Erin is seen enjoying a late-night shopping trip with her friend, while posing both inside and outside the store. Their excitement is undeniable, especially as they approach the store in the car.

It could be stated that for many Gen Z Brits, Tesco is a definitive shopping destination.


we &lt3 big tesco

♬ Big Tesco – harryphdsmith

Tesco is a part of British culture, digital and at large. It’s a brand that’s quintessentially British in its character. Their value products attract savvy shoppers, while the premium range brings in the affluent clientele. As other British supermarket tend to have a stereotypical customer profile, Tesco is so popular it’s nearly impossible to pin it down to a specific demographic. The brand is just as British as Big Ben, beans on toast, or the pronunciation of the phrase “a bottle of water.”

The U.K. has been caught up in a cultural debate around Britishness ever since the Brexit referendum of 2016. Ironically, something as simple as a supermarket chain remains one of the nation’s most unifying elements. A trip to a big Tesco is must for everyone who wants to see what British life is all about, and the emotional labor performed by the brand’s young fans will keep them relevant for years to come.

Tesco did not reply to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.

The Daily Dot