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UK’s Tesco commits to healthy food sales target after shareholder pressure

LONDON, March 5 (Reuters) – Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket chain, committed to increase its sales of healthy food to 65% of total sales by 2025 following pressure from some shareholders to set targets.

Some investors have been calling for Tesco, which has 27% of the UK’s grocery market, to sell more healthy food, saying it was lagging rivals in its efforts to encourage healthy eating and combat obesity in the country.

Investors Robeco, JO Hambro and others, led by responsible investment group ShareAction, proposed a resolution over healthy food sales in February for the company’s AGM, which is usually held in late June or early July.

Tesco said on Friday its 65% healthy products sales target would represent a jump from the current level of 58% and it would use the government’s nutrient profiling model to define those products.

It said it would report its progress against the targets annually, and also laid out plans to increase sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 300% by 2025 and make products like ready meals healthier through changing the ingredients to include more vegetables.

“Customers are telling us they want to eat a more healthy, sustainable diet” Tesco’s chief executive Ken Murphy said in a statement.

“Today we are sharing our stretching new ambitions on health, and committing to reporting our progress against them.”

Reporting by Sarah Young, Editing by Paul Sandle