UK-based grocery company Tesco announced today a new commitment to increase sales of healthier food and drink products across all of its group retail business, including its Central European operations and its Booker business, which owns retailers Budgens and Londis.
The retailer’s new commitment follows a shareholder campaign led by responsible investment NGO ShareAction, and a group of institutional investors representing over £140bn in assets, including Robeco and J O Hambro’s UK Dynamic Fund. The shareholder group filed a resolution in February, with several requirements aimed at increasing Tesco’s healthy product sales, including disclosing the share of total food and non-alcoholic drink annual sales by volume made up of healthier products (as defined by the UK Department of Health), developing a strategy to significantly increase that share by 2030, and publishing a review of its progress each year in its annual report from 2022 onwards.
In March, Tesco announced a new target to increase the proportion of sales from healthier products to 65% from 58% by 2025 in its UK Tesco-branded stores, and today’s action expands this initiative to the rest of its retail footprint.
Sarah Bradbury, Group Quality Director at Tesco, said:
“We share the same goal as ShareAction to make it easier for our customers to eat more healthily, and we’re pleased to now broaden our public commitments to Booker and our Central Europe business. 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. Our focus now is on delivering the plans that we’ve set out, and we will continue to engage with ShareAction and other stakeholders as we work to make Tesco the easiest place to shop for healthy food.”
Following the announcement of Tesco’s new targets, the shareholder group will withdraw its resolution, and Tesco has committed to engage with ShareAction and investors in the Healthy Markets Coalition over the next two years, as the company develops and implements its plans.
Louisa Hodge, Engagement Manager at ShareAction, said:
“Investors are recognizing the importance of health. They see the risks and opportunities supermarkets face, given their outsized role in shaping our diets. By filing a shareholder resolution, our investor coalition sent a strong message to Tesco and to other supermarkets that shifting sales toward healthier options is important. Tesco’s new ambition to support healthier diets through its UK and Central European stores, as well as through the Booker Group, is very welcome. We look forward to continuing to engage with Tesco as it implements these commitments and fully develops its plans beyond UK retail.”