Tesco urged to consider health impact as it extends plant-based target into Central Europe

Table of Contents How to define healthy?​Is bad food bad for business? ​ The warning

The warning comes after the UK’s largest supermarket agreed to increase healthy food options at its operations in Europe as well as the UK and Ireland after pressure from a group of seven institutional investors.

The coalition of Tesco activist investors is led by ShareAction, which in February filed a shareholder proposal​ calling on Tesco to reduce its exposure to less healthy food and drink products. The move was the first health-based shareholder resolution filed at a UK-listed company.

This initially prompted the supermarket, the UK’s leading grocer with a 27% market share, to announce plans to increase the proportion of sales from healthier products in the UK and Ireland to 65% by 2025​.

After further pressure from ShareAction, Tesco has now agreed to extend the strategy to its Booker wholesale subsidiary, which supplies supermarket chains Budgens and Londis, and its Central European stores in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

The commitment across its entire retail group covers an additional £10bn in sales (20% of Tesco’s retail revenue), up from £42bn (80%) in March.

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.”