Tesco extends health commitments to Booker

Tesco worker

Tesco has announced that its major new commitments to offering a wider range of “affordable, healthy, sustainable food” will be extended into Booker.

Having set out the latest steps in its efforts to make Tesco stores “the easiest place for customers to shop for affordable, healthy, sustainable food”, Tesco has announced that these commitments are now being extended to Booker “to further improve access to healthy alternatives for Booker’s business customers.”

The definition of ‘healthy’ products adopted by Tesco is based on the UK Government’s nutrient profiling model.

The supermarket’s 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 its large and convenience stores, and online)
  • increase sales of plant-based meat alternatives
  • make products healthier through reformulation.

These commitments have been welcomed by responsible investment charity ShareAction which is now withdrawing a proposed AGM special resolution.

Since the publication of its UK & ROI commitments, Tesco says it has continued its engagement with ShareAction and will continue to do so on their shared ambition to help customers eat more healthily.

Booker’s commitments on health, also recently published, 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 shoppers in making well-informed choices about what they eat and drink.

Booker’s commitments on health are:

  • To set up an online portal that provides a recipe management, allergy and nutritional tool for its 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 it reviews a product, and to offer a healthier alternative in all key categories.

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 this new commitment 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.”