esco has responded to activist shareholders by committing to increased sales of healthier products across three central European countries and the Booker Group, which is a wholesaler.
It follows a March commitment to increase healthy food and drink from 58 per cent to 65 per cent of sales by 2025 in Tesco stores across the UK and Ireland. The three Central European countries are Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
Tesco will formulate specific targets by the end of 2022. In Booker stores it will increase its range of healthier products, also providing better nutritional information on labels and online.
Tesco’s commitments follow months of engagement between the company and a £140 billion coalition of seven institutional investors led by ShareAction, who in February filed a shareholder proposal to reduce Tesco’s exposure to less healthy food and drink products.
The group has now withdrawn the proposal.
Louisa Hodge, Food & Health Engagement Manager for ShareAction has said it’s a landmark development, adding, “Today’s announcement should make other food retailers and manufacturers take note.
“The food sector shapes the way we eat. It has a pivotal role to play in population health”
“The move comes as a direct response to our shareholder resolution filed back in February – backed by seven institutional investors and over 100 individuals.
“Tesco is the UK’s largest supermarket. It has 27 per cent of the grocery market. Its actions are of systemic importance to tackle poor diets and reduce obesity levels.
“Yet, Tesco’s prime market position had not translated to leadership on this critical issue.
“For two years we’ve engaged with the company on the topic of health.
“Tesco has agreed two years of collaborative engagement with investors and ShareAction, as it implements its new commitments.
“We’ll be working to ensure these ambitious commitments translate into positive steps to build a healthier society.
“The food sector shapes the way we eat. It has a pivotal role to play in population health.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for customers to shop for healthier food”
“Investors are increasingly taking interest in this topic and are demanding the food industry takes positive steps to put people’s health first.”
Tesco has confirmed its new targets include increasing sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 300 per cent by 2025. And making own brand products healthier through reformulation in Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
Sarah Bradbury, Tesco Group Quality Director, said, “We want to make it as easy as possible for customers to shop for healthier food. These new commitments will ensure that every customer will have even greater access to affordable, healthy and sustainable food.”