Photo courtesy of Tesco

Investors help push Tesco to increase healthy food sales

Produce Business report

A group of investors who had pressured Tesco to provide higher sales of healthy food got their wish this week as the UK retailer announced plans to improve nutritious option in its stores.

Tesco, which had committed to lifting sales of healthy products to 65% at UK stores, promised to carry the commitment to its Booker and Central European businesses, which led to Share Action’s 100-plus investors effectively dropping a proposed resolution at its annual general meeting, according to a Financial Times report.

“Investors are increasingly recognising the importance of people’s health, including the role that supermarkets play in shaping our diets,” Simon Rawson, Director of Corporate Engagement at ShareAction, said. “Following our engagement over the past year, we warmly welcome Tesco’s new commitments to support healthier diets. The Healthy Markets investor coalition is looking forward to continuing our engagement with Tesco, other retailers and with food manufacturers. The food industry has a unique opportunity to help us improve health and resilience in society as we begin to build back from the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Tesco says its UK and ROI health initiative will effort to boost sales of healthier foods – both own brand and branded – including “plant-based meat alternatives” compared to overall sales. That will include both larger format stores and convenience stores.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for customers to shop for healthier food,” Sarah Bradbury, Tesco Group Quality Director, said. “We’ve already set broad and ambitious commitments for our UK & ROI business, where we have the greatest scale and our work is most advanced. However, we also have stretching plans for the wider Tesco Group, and these new commitments will ensure that every customer – wherever and however they shop with us – will have even greater access to affordable, healthy and sustainable food.”

Tesco laid out a number of commitments beyond its own UK stores. In Central Europe it says its goals will be to:

  • “Increase sales of healthier products on a similar trajectory to our UK ambitions, by developing the appropriate methodology to establish our baseline and targets by the end of 2022.
  • Increase sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 300% by 2025.
  • Develop a plan to make own brand products healthier through reformulation in all three countries.”

At Booker, it will attempt to:

  • “Set up an online portal that provides a recipe management, allergy & nutritional tool for our business caterers.
  • Offer business customers a range of plant-based products.
  • Accelerate the roll-out of front-of-pack nutritional information on Booker’s retail products, consistent with the policy applied to Tesco products.
  • Make products healthier by seeking to improve the health profile every time we review a product, and to offer a healthier alternative in all key categories.”

Tesco says it will share updates through its Little Helps Plan.



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