UK retailer Tesco has announced plans to make more healthy and sustainable food available at its stores. With its direct competitors, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer, having made similar commitments in recent times, the pressure is on Tesco to do likewise to address the UK’s obesity crisis. The move is being proposed by a shareholders’ group within Tesco and will be proposed at the next shareholders’ meeting. If passed, Tesco will have to disclose more about its share of sales of healthier foods and publish annual updates on how it improves.
Ignacio Vázquez, senior manager at ShareAction, stated that “As the UK’s largest food retailer, Tesco’s actions are of great importance in combating obesity. But its privileged position in the market has not yet translated into leadership in this area. We hope that the Tesco board supports the resolution and seizes the opportunity to help build a healthier post-Covid UK, while improving its long-term financial sustainability.”
Sponsors of the measure include Robeco Institutional Asset Management, JO Hambro Capital Management’s UK Dynamic Fund, and Epworth Investment Management, owned by the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church. Together, they manage £ 140 billion in funds.
A Tesco spokesperson spoke to the BBC and explained that “we are working hard to make it easier for our customers to make healthy choices, and we have set very clear goals on health and sustainability, published in our Small Grants Plan. We have already eliminated more than 50,000 million calories from their products since 2018.” And that they have carried out a series of promotional activities in their supermarkets offering healthy alternatives and giving more than 100 million fruit to children. “We also have the goal of increasing sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 300% by 2025.”