Food production, specifically meat and dairy production, has a significant impact on the environment and is acknowledged as a major contributor to climate change. In support of our ambition to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket, in September 2020 we committed to a 300% increase in sales of meat alternatives by 2025 and became the first UK retailer to commit to publishing the sales of plant-based proteins as a percentage of overall protein sales every year to track our progress. Over the past 12 months, we have grown sales of meat alternatives by 96% compared with our 2018 baseline. Information on our protein sales split is available in our healthy, sustainable diets factsheet.
Plant-based food has become one of the biggest culinary trends of the decade with demand helping to boost the chilled vegetarian/vegan sector by 31% (IRI data Sept 2019). In anticipation of growing demand, we have been undertaking significant product innovation work in the area of plant-based and alternative proteins, both in developing and launching our Own Brand plant-based products and ranges and in working with suppliers on their branded offerings.
In 2018, we were the first UK supermarket to launch our Own Brand plant-based food range, in partnership with the pioneering chef, Derek Sarno, creating the exclusive Wicked Kitchen range. In 2019, we widened the appeal of plant-based food even further with our new range, Plant Chef, offering easy to prepare, affordable plant-based swaps of traditional family favourite dishes.
Today, we have over 350 plant-based meat alternative products on our shelves, a 167% increase since 2018. We continue to increase the proportion of lines that are plant-based. And we are continuing to invest in plant-based innovation, bringing brands into our incubator programme and enabling them to benefit from a full
year of support from Tesco’s Product team.
We are keen to help customers identify plant-based products. In many of our larger stores we have dedicated colourful displays of plant-based products in the meat and prepared food aisles, offering flexitarians an immediate alternative. In October 2019 we released a major advertising campaign, our Food Love Story, about our increasing plant-based offer.
With food production at the centre of many environmental issues, Tesco and WWF have come together to make it easier for everyone to access an affordable, healthy and sustainable diet. Through the partnership we aim to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket. The environmental impact of some of the UK’s most popular foods will be measured and, for the first time, tracked using the Tesco and WWF Sustainable Basket Metric.
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