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Michael Barker

BY MICHAEL BARKER

@michaelbarker

Friday 5th March 2021, 11:30 London

Tesco unveils major health plan

Supermarket makes series of commitments, including stocking more plant-based food and upping veg content of ready meals

Tesco unveils major health plan

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Tesco has unveiled a series of initiatives designed to help customers eat more healthily and sustainably, in a move that is set to benefit fruit and veg producers.

The supermarket outlined plans between now and 2025 that 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 its plant-based ranges, with new products aimed at making plant protein more accessible to families.

Progress against the plans will be reported publicly, underpinned by new targets to increase the proportion of sales of healthy food, and to make products healthier.

In detail, Tesco’s 2025 commitments on health are:

- an increase in sales of healthy products, as a proportion of total sales, to 65 per cent by 2025, as defined by the government’s nutrient profiling model, up from 58 per cent today;

- to increase sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 300 per cent by 2025 in line with Tesco’s ambition to put affordable, healthy and sustainable food within reach of everyone. The retailer said it will work to ensure it has even more plant-based alternatives, alongside meat options;

- to make products healthier through reformulation. This includes plans to increase the percentage of ready meals that contain at least one of the recommended 5 A Day to 66 per cent by 2025, up from 50 per cent currently and 26 per cent in 2018.

Tesco pledged to disclose progress against its targets annually, through its Little Helps Plan, and its next update in May will share further details on its strategy to support healthy diets.

Tesco group chief exceutive 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, the supermarket pointed out, as well as Tesco’s health charity partners Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK.

Anna Taylor, executive director at 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.”

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