Tesco’s sustainable diet commitments should extend to Booker

Tesco has set a target to increase the proportion of sales from ‘healthier products’ from 58% to 65% by 2025.

The UK’s largest supermarket will also increase sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 300% by 2025. Two thirds (66%) of ready meals will also come with at least one of the recommended five-a-day fruit and vegetables, up from 26% in 2018 and 50% currently.

Changes will also be made to promotions and pricing to “remove barriers to buying healthy food”. Products with plant proteins will also become “even more accessible to families”.

The news comes in the same week that retailers reportedly attempted to delay plans for widespread bans on promotions of products high in fat, salt and sugar.

A letter from the British Retail Consortium to public health and small business ministers argued that insufficient time has been dedicated to consulting on the new measures, the FT reported. The BRC claimed more time was needed to undertake the “considerable work” required to not only refit and reconfigure stores but redesign websites.

Campaigners at the Children’s Food Campaign told The Grocer that there is “more than adequate time” to implement the changes.

The new Tesco commitments follow pressure from a coalition of institutional and retail investors, led by NGO ShareAction.

Tesco has been singled out on account of its market-leading role in shaping the nation’s diet with a 27% share of Britain’s grocery market. The investors also claimed that Tesco’s performance on health issues lags behind some of its supermarket rivals.

“Today’s news demonstrates the power of investor engagement,” said Jessica Attard, head of health at ShareAction.

However, they pushed the supermarket to broaden its commitments to cover Booker, the wholesaler it owns.

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