Shareholders hail 'landmark victory' after Tesco extended its junk food pledge

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Tesco caved in to investor pressure and promised to boost sales of healthy food and drinks across its overall retail group amid calls to help combat Britain's obesity crisis.

An investor consortium led by accountable investment group ShareAction celebrated a 'landmark victory' after Tesco expanded its pledge to healthily grow food.

ShareAction said Louisa Hodge, engagement manager at ShareAction, represents a "landmark victory for shareholder activism on health issues"

Before then, seven investors representing roughly £140bn in assets had filed what are thought to be the first shareholder resolutions in February.

Its aim is to raise the share of healthy products in total sales to 65% from 58% now.

If they pass, it would force Tesco to disclose a percentage of all food and soft drinks sold in its stores.

The issue of establishing a healthy eating strategy was raised at Tesco's AGM, which said it was an "marked escalation" of shareholder pressure because of growing concern over the long-term public health impact of large retailers' measures.

There are fears the move, originally tried a year ago but withdrawn following more than 40 major bodies making the same supply chain threats, will push ahead with deforestation.