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Tesco extends ambitious new health commitments to Central Europe and Booker

Builds on health commitments for Tesco’s UK & ROI business, announced in March[1]

Tesco today announces a further extension of its ambitious health strategy, with commitments to help customers in Central Europe eat more healthily, and to further improve access to healthy alternatives for Booker’s business customers.

In March, we set out the latest step in our efforts to make our stores the easiest place for customers to shop for affordable, healthy, sustainable food. These commitments cover Tesco’s UK & ROI business, as our largest market and where our health work is currently most advanced.

Our UK & ROI health ambitions include commitments to increase sales of healthy products as a proportion of total sales (including both own brand and branded sales, and across our large and convenience stores, and online); to increase sales of plant-based meat alternatives, and to make products healthier through reformulation.

These commitments have been welcomed by ShareAction and a number of leading health organisations.

Since the publication of our UK & ROI commitments, we have continued our engagement with ShareAction. Following further interest in our plans for the wider Tesco Group, we are happy to now broaden our public commitments, reflecting the health plans we have in place in Central Europe and Booker.

Recognising the breadth of our commitments, ShareAction is withdrawing its proposed AGM special resolution. We will continue to engage with them on our shared ambition to help customers eat more healthily.

Our new commitments on health for our Central Europe business are:

  • To increase sales of healthier products on a similar trajectory to our UK ambitions, by developing the appropriate methodology to establish our baseline and targets by the end of 2022.
  • To increase sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 300% by 2025.
  • To develop a plan to make own brand products healthier through reformulation in all three countries.

The definition of ‘healthy’ products for our UK business is based on the UK Government’s nutrient profiling model; for our three CE markets, we will first work to develop an equivalent and appropriate methodology to cover our operations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

Booker’s commitments on health, also published today, reflect the unique nature of its business model within the Tesco Group, as a wholesaler that provides products for resale by other businesses, and does not sell to consumers directly.

Booker’s health commitments therefore focus on providing a greater choice of healthier products, through extending plant-based ranges, making existing products healthier, and offering healthier alternatives. It also commits to a new tool and an accelerated roll-out of labelling, which will give its business customers the health and nutrition information that they need to support their end-consumers in making well-informed choices.

Booker’s commitments on health are:

  • To set up an online portal that provides a recipe management, allergy & nutritional tool for our business caterers.
  • To offer business customers a range of plant-based products.
  • To accelerate the roll-out of front-of-pack nutritional information on Booker’s retail products, consistent with the policy applied to Tesco products.
  • To make products healthier by seeking to improve the health profile every time we review a product, and to offer a healthier alternative in all key categories.

As previously announced, Tesco is committed to sharing progress against our health targets annually, through our Little Helps Plan.

Sarah Bradbury, Tesco Group Quality Director, commented:

“We want to make it as easy as possible for customers to shop for healthier food. We’ve already set broad and ambitious commitments for our UK & ROI business, where we have the greatest scale and our work is most advanced.

However, we also have stretching plans for the wider Tesco Group, including Booker and our Central Europe business, and 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.”

Simon Rawson, Director of Corporate Engagement at ShareAction, commented:

“Investors are increasingly recognising the importance of people’s health, including the role that supermarkets play in shaping our diets. Following our engagement over the past year, we warmly welcome Tesco’s new commitments to support healthier diets. The Healthy Markets investor coalition is looking forward to continuing our engagement with Tesco, other retailers and with food manufacturers. The food industry has a unique opportunity to help us improve health and resilience in society as we begin to build back from the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

[1] https://www.tescoplc.com/news/2021/tesco-makes-ambitious-new-commitments-to-support-healthy-sustainable-diets/

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