Meat alternatives are all the rage, and Tesco is capitalising on the trend in a big way, committing to a 300% increase in sales by 2025 as it aims to halve the environmental impact of food production.
It will work partner the World Wildlife Fund in trying to reach that sales target, which is believed to be a first for UK retailer. Tesco has also committed to publishing the sales of plant-based proteins as a percentage of overall protein sales every year to track its progress as part of its Sustainable Basket Metric with the WWF.
“We know from our experience in tackling food waste that transparency and setting ambitious targets are the first steps towards becoming a more sustainable business," Tesco CEO, Dave Lewis said. "Our transparency on protein sales and our new sales target for meat alternatives gives us the platform to becoming more sustainable and will provide customers with even more choice."
Tesco became the first UK retailer to publish its food waste data in 2013, and says it hopes the transparency on protein sales will encourage the rest of the food industry to make similar commitments.
"We can’t accomplish the transformational change needed for a truly sustainable food system on our own, so we’re calling on the whole industry to play its role, starting with increased transparency on its sustainability impacts," Lewis said. "We also call on the government to do more by helping to scale up innovations and create a level playing field to ensure companies drive sustainability in their supply chains.”
Tesco has launched several measures to reach the target:
- Availability: Introduce and grow plant-based meat alternatives across all its stores, with products across 20 different categories including ready meals, breaded meat alternatives, plant-based sausages, burgers, quiches, pies, party food.
- Affordability: continue to invest in value so that affordability is not a barrier to buying plant-based meat alternatives.
- Innovation: work with suppliers to bring new innovations to customers.
- Visibility: provide a meat alternative where a meat version is featured, for example Richmond sausages and Richmond plant-based sausages to feature together.
“It’s great to see this sector-leading step from Tesco," said Tanya Steele, CEO of the WWF. "Tackling the environmental impact of what we eat and how we produce it has never been so urgent. WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 has just revealed that, in the last 50 years, wildlife populations have declined on average by 68%. The food system has been identified as the biggest culprit, but also presents one of the greatest opportunities to reverse this trend; rebalancing our diets is a critical part of that."
Tesco and WWF launched the Sustainable Basket Metric in 2019. So far, the retailer has achieved 11% of its target to halve the environmental impact of the average shopping basket. The Metric measures environmental impacts of food across seven different categories: climate change; deforestation; sustainable diets; sustainable agriculture; marine sustainability; food waste; and packaging waste.