© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Tesco sign is pictured outside a Tesco supermarket in Hatfield, United Kingdom on October 6, 2020. REUTERS / Peter Cziborra / File Photo
LONDON (Reuters) – supermarket group Tesco (LON 🙂 has agreed to increase healthy food options on operations in Europe and the UK to appease investors who tabled a landmark shareholder resolution to force the issue.
The coalition of activists of Tesco activists calling on the UK’s largest supermarket group to set targets for sales of a larger share of healthy food, withdrew their resolution at the general meeting on Wednesday following the company’s approval.
ShareAction investment group coordinated the filing of the resolution in February by institutional investors such as Robeco, JO Hambro and the Guy’s and St. Thomas charity, as well as 101 individual Tesco shareholders.
The move marked the first health-related shareholder resolution filed with a UK-listed company.
First, it prompted Tesco, which owns 27% of the UK grocery market, to commit to increasing healthy product sales from 58% to 65% of total sales in its UK and Irish stores by 2025.
However, ShareAction kept its decision on the table to encourage Tesco to take similar steps with its Central European branches and its Booker wholesale subsidiary, which supplies the Budgens and Londis supermarket chains.
Since Tesco has now agreed to this, ShareAction has withdrawn the decision.
Tesco, ShareAction and investors in the Healthy Markets Coalition have now agreed on a two-year involvement process in which Tesco will introduce new commitments that will cover sales of £ 52 billion (US $ 72 billion).
“Investors are realizing the importance of health,” said Louisa Hodge, engagement manager at ShareAction.
“In filing a shareholder resolution, our coalition of investors sent a strong message to Tesco and other supermarkets that it is important to shift sales towards healthier options.”
Tesco shared the same goal as ShareAction to make it easier for customers to eat healthier.
“These new commitments ensure that every customer – no matter where or how they shop with us – has even better access to affordable, healthy and sustainable food,” said Sarah Bradbury, Tesco’s Group Quality Director.
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