British Grocer Tesco to increase healthier products sales proportion to boost nation’s health

US – British multinational grocer Tesco has joined campaign to boost the nation’s health with a new target to increase the proportion of sales from healthier products in the UK to 65 percent by 2025.

The UK Department defines healthier products as those food and non-alcoholic drink products not identified as ‘high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS)’.

This is the definition that the British grocer is going by in determining which products will be given prominence in its store across the UK.

Food Ingredients First reported that Tesco’s move is in line with an anticipated shareholder resolution regarding expanded nutritious offerings, to be voted on at Tesco’s Annual General Meeting in June.

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The move by Tesco which holds 27 percent of the British grocery market is remarkable especially now when UK citizens are battling with lifestyle diseases that can be directly attributed to the foods that they consume.

A recent UK study revealed that Obesity is on the rise with an estimated 28.0% of adults in England suffering from Obesity and a further 36.2%  projected to be overweight but not obese.

Children are also becoming victims of their own diet with statistics showing a rise in the number of children with obesity across the nation.

The Health Survey of England, published by the UK Parliament found that for Year 6 children prevalence has increased from 17.5% to 21.0% using 2006/2007 as the base year..

Tesco now wants to be part of the solution and has committed to publish a strategy to achieve this goal and to report on its progress annually, as requested by the shareholder proposal filed in February.

“We want supermarkets to grow the proportion of sales from healthier products as defined by the UK Department of Health,”says Jessica Attard, head of health at ShareAction.

 “This could include things like fruit and vegetables but, importantly, should include healthier alternatives from other categories too.”

The upcoming Tesco  resolution will the first health-based resolution to be filed at a UK-listed company, reflecting rising investor concerns with companies’ health impacts in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

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Tesco’s plans, however, cover only its Tesco-branded UK stores and exclude other parts of its business, such as Budgens and Londis-branded convenience stores, which are owned by Tesco, through Booker, and its international operations.

 “We are pleased that Tesco recognizes the need to take action on nutrition and is now ready to announce the nutrition target for 2025 in the Little Helps Plan,” remarks Peter van der Werf, senior engagement specialist at Robeco.

“It shows once more that engagement with companies and filing shareholder resolutions is a powerful tool to help companies moving in a more sustainable direction.”

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