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Tesco Shareholders Bring Resolution To Vote On More Healthy Products

Tesco Shareholders Bring Resolution To Vote On More Healthy Products
Shareholders of the biggest food retailer Britain – Tesco, will put pressure on the company to set targets for increasing the proportion of healthy products that it sells when they vote on a resolution to this effect at this annual meeting of the retailer later this year.
According to a statement issued by the responsible investment group ShareAction, which is co-ordinating the move, this shareholder action of the supermarket group is the first for a company in the FTSE 100 index which is targeted to pressure companies on health issues.
“With severely obese people three times more likely to be admitted to intensive care with COVID-19, the pandemic has highlighted the urgency of tackling mounting obesity levels,” the shareholder action group said.
On previous occasions, Barclays and HSBC have been targeted by ShareAction over the issue of climate change.
Institutional investors of the company including Robeco, JO Hambro and Guys and St. Thomas’ Charity, as well as 101 individual Tesco shareholders are co-filing the Tesco resolution.
The argument put forward by the Tesco shareholders in bringing in the healthy products related resolution is that the efforts of company at encouraging healthy eating lags behind those of its peers including Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer even though the group is the largest groceries retailer in the UK and has a 27 per cent share of the market.
There is a financial risk to Tesco if the company is unable to address the consumer trends and new regulations to country the problem of obesity, the consumer group also said. 
For the special resolution to get passed at the annual general meeting, it will require support from 75 per cent of the shareholder votes.
It the resolution is passed, Tesco will be compelled to make public the proportion of healthier products in its total annual sales by volume of the food and non-alcoholic drink that it sells. Tesco will also be forced to draw up and implement measures to make significant increase in the share of healthy products in its offering by 2030.
A formal response that will detail how it would address the concerns raised will have to be issued by Tesco if the resolution receives a total of 20 per cent of the shareholder votes.
“We are working hard to make it easy for our customers to make healthy choices, and we have set very clear targets on health and sustainability, published in our Little Helps Plan,” Tesco said in a statement.
Since 2018, the company has removed more than 50 billion calories from its products in a reformulation programme, it said and added that healthier alternatives to family favourites if offered at the same price by its “helpful little swaps” events. It also said that more than 100 million pieces of free fruit to children had been given away by it.
A plan to increase the sale of plant based meat alternatives by 300 per cent by 2025 has also been drawn up by it, the company said.
The annual general meeting of Tesco is scheduled to be held in late June or early July.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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