Supermarket heavyweight Tesco has announced it will be shutting down its product-testing website 'The Orchard at Tesco' on Friday 31 March.

The site offered Clubcard holders the chance to trial products, sending them coupons they could exchange in Tesco stores for free items such as ice cream or chocolate.

Product reviewers were expected to post about the items they were reviewing on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as chat to friends, relatives and colleagues in real life – though always making it clear that they were trialling the item on behalf of Tesco Orchard.

The Orchard operates separately to Tesco Home Panels, another product-testing site which sends out non-food items such as jumpers, shaving foam and loo rolls. Tesco has confirmed its Home Panels site will continue to operate as normal.

For a full rundown of other sites that let you test goodies without paying a penny, see our Earn freebies for testing products guide.

What Tesco says

In an email to Orchard members, the supermarket said: "We know the quality of our food is really important to our customers, so we want to provide more opportunities to taste it. That's why we've taken the decision to close The Orchard at Tesco on 31 March 2017 in favour of expanding our national in-store sampling programme.

"This means that you will no longer be able to log in to the platform from this date... As a valued member we want to notify you of this change first and take a moment to thank you for supporting The Orchard – we hope you've enjoyed the past three years as much as we have.

"We'd like to reassure you that after The Orchard platform closes, all personal data, including photos, reviews and content you have shared with us will be securely deleted. If you'd like to save any of your content, please do so before 31 March 2017."

Tesco has confirmed that all coupons sent out by The Orchard can continue to be used after the site closes, up to the date stamped on them.

If members have any questions about the closure, they can contact The Orchard at Tesco Support by phoning 0800 292 2969 from 2pm to 9pm, Monday to Friday, or