Tesco to support healthy, sustainable diets
Tesco has set out new plans to help customers eat more healthily, and to make Tesco the easiest place for customers to shop for affordable, healthy, sustainable food.
The supermarket’s plans between now and 2025 will include a major new programme of reformulation to improve the health profile of products; changes to promotions and pricing to remove barriers to buying healthy food; and a further expansion of Tesco’s market-leading plant-based ranges, with new products that will make plant protein even more accessible to families.
Progress against these plans will be reported publicly, underpinned by new targets to increase the proportion of sales of healthy food, and to make products healthier.
Together with Tesco’s existing ambition to increase sales of plant-based food, the supermarket’s 2025 commitments on health are:
1. An increase in sales of healthy products, as a proportion of total sales, to 65% by 2025, as defined by the Government’s nutrient profiling model – up from 58% today
2. To increase sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 300% by 2025 in line with Tesco’s ambition to put affordable, healthy and sustainable food within reach of everyone. We will work to ensure we have even more plant-based alternatives, alongside meat options
3. To make products healthier through reformulation. This includes plans to increase the percentage of ready meals that contain at least one of the recommended five a day to 66% by 2025 (currently 50%, up from 26% in 2018)
Tesco is committing to disclose progress against its targets annually, through its Little Helps Plan. Its next Little Helps Plan update, due to be published in May, will share further details on its strategy to support healthy diets.
The new targets are the culmination of 18 months of work to understand how the average UK weekly shopping basket could be made more healthy, and to develop plans that build further on Tesco’s existing health programme. Tesco has worked closely with its charity partners and other stakeholders, as well as listening to families to understand how they want to eat more healthily, and what barriers need to be overcome.
To meet the targets, Tesco’s strategy will focus on:
• Reformulating products. Tesco will remove billions of calories and thousands of tonnes of salt, fat and sugar from products, without affecting taste, as part of a rolling programme of reformulation. Since 2018, Tesco has already removed more than 50 billion calories from its products, focusing on some of the categories which contribute the most calories to families’ shopping baskets, such as ready meals, biscuits, pies and cakes.
• Helping customers by removing barriers to healthier choices, for example by offering affordable plant-based protein options, and increasing the number of promotions on healthy products. This will build on its successful ‘Helpful Little Swaps’ events, which encourage customers to try healthier alternatives to family favourites at the same price.
• Inspiring customers to make bigger changes to their lifestyle – including through the launch of new ranges, as well as reviewing the prominence and the amount of space dedicated to healthier products in stores.
Tesco Group CEO Ken Murphy said: “Customers are telling us they want to eat a more healthy, sustainable diet, but without having to stretch the weekly shopping budget. By making even very small changes to the items they put in their basket week in week out, we can help them make that change.
“We’ve worked hard to help our customers eat healthily and we’re proud of our track record, and it’s clear we can do more. Today we are sharing our stretching new ambitions on health, and committing to reporting our progress against them.”
The new targets are supported by leading health organisations, as well as Tesco’s Health Charity Partners – Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK, who have worked closely with Tesco to help shape its approach on healthy diets.
Anna Taylor, Executive Director, The Food Foundation said: “Tesco sets out some great commitments today. They should be proud of the speed at which they have added more veg to the ready meal category as part of their commitment to Peas Please. I hope other retailers are taking note! Shoppers really need supermarkets to make it easier for them to eat healthily and sustainably. Today’s announcements show Tesco is up for the challenge.”
James Toop, CEO, Bite Back 2030, said: “It is impressive to see Tesco committing to measures that will improve the health of both people and the planet. The pledge to increase sales of healthy products will mean making those options more affordable and attractive to children as well as adults. We all have an opportunity now to put food at the heart of the UK’s recovery by ensuring good nutrition is an option for every family in the UK. This announcement is a welcome step towards doing that.”
Wai-Chan Chan, Managing Director, The Consumer Goods Forum, said: “We applaud Tesco for making this ambitious commitment. Tesco has been an important member of The Consumer Goods Forum for many years, working closely with us on topics like food waste and health. Tesco is also Co-Chair of our Collaboration for Healthier Lives UK initiative, and their drive to empower people to adopt healthier lives has been a critical part of its success. We very much look forward to continuing to work with them on these important topics as we take collective action to drive positive change across our membership and around the world.”
Prof Judy Buttriss, British Nutrition Foundation said: “It is essential that supermarkets play their part in helping customers select a healthy and sustainable diet that provides the nutrients we all need. These new commitments are aligned with the nation’s need to eat more vegetables, fruits, grains and also pulses such as beans and lentils, as well as cut back on calories, saturated fat, salt, and added sugar. A varied plant-rich diet is a great place to start, remembering that nutrient-rich milk, eggs, fish and meat remain part of a healthy diet for most of us. It’s about getting the balance right.”
The Chief Executives of Tesco’s Health Charity Partners – Dr Charmaine Griffiths, British Heart Foundation; Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK; and Chris Askew, Diabetes UK – commented: “We welcome Tesco’s new commitments which will help support millions of people to have access to affordable, healthy, and sustainable food. It’s so important that the healthy choice is the easy choice, and we hope this new strategy will help that become a reality.”