Tesco sets target for 300% increase in sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 2025 to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket

The retailer has committed to a 300% increase in its sales of meat alternatives by 2025*, alongside a wider set of sustainability measures which it has developed with WWF. Taken together, the measures included in the partnership’s Sustainable Basket Metric will aim to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket.

It announced today that in partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), it plans to increase it’s efforts towards halving the environmental impact of food production.

Tesco is also the first grocery retailer committed to publishing the sales of plant-based proteins as a percentage of overall protein sales every year to track its progress. Tesco became the first UK retailer to publish its food waste data in 2013, and it hopes this new level of transparency on protein sales will help encourage the rest of the food industry to make similar commitments.

To achieve this, Tesco plans to expand the plant-based product range across 20 different categories. It will also invest in value so that the meat alternatives will be at an affordable price range and will work with suppliers who offer new and innovative products. It also pledges to provide a meat alternative for every meat product line.

Tesco CEO, Dave Lewis said:

“We know from our experience in tackling food waste that transparency and setting ambitious targets are the first steps towards becoming a more sustainable business. Our transparency on protein sales and our new sales target for meat alternatives gives us the platform to becoming more sustainable and will provide customers with even more choice.
“These measures are just part of the work we’re doing with WWF, bringing together for the first time a host of sustainability metrics to help us halve the environmental impact of food production.
“We can’t accomplish the transformational change needed for a truly sustainable food system on our own, so we’re calling on the whole industry to play its role, starting with increased transparency on its sustainability impacts. We also call on the government to do more by helping to scale up innovations and create a level playing field to ensure companies drive sustainability in their supply chains.”

Tesco and WWF launched the Sustainable Basket Metric in 2019. The Metric measures environmental impacts of food across seven different categories: climate change; deforestation; sustainable diets; sustainable agriculture; marine sustainability; food waste; and packaging waste. So far, the retailer has achieved 11% of its target to halve the environmental impact of the average shopping basket.

Tanya Steele, the CEO for World Wide Fund commended:

“It’s great to see this sector-leading step from Tesco. Tackling the environmental impact of what we eat and how we produce it has never been so urgent. WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 has just revealed that, in the last 50 years, wildlife populations have declined on average by 68%.
The food system has been identified as the biggest culprit, but also presents one of the greatest opportunities to reverse this trend; rebalancing our diets is a critical part of that.
“Food businesses cannot have a sustainable future without transparency. They need to know where they are starting from in order to know where they are going. Our partnership with Tesco aims to halve the environmental footprint of the average shopping basket, but we need a sector-wide step-change in transparency and accountability to achieve the scale and pace of change that is so desperately needed. We ask all food businesses to join us on this journey.”

*2025 target taken from a 2018 baseline figure.

Source: Press release from TESCO on the 29th of September 2020

Elena Daniilidou

Elena is an ethical vegan and minimalist advocating for sustainable and slow living.

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