Shoppers buying more healthy products after junk food curbs, says Tesco

Tesco said it has seen positive signs shoppers’ baskets are becoming healthier after a raft of changes last year which including reformulating products and ditching some multibuy offers.

Ashwin Prasad, chief product officer for the supermarket giant, said it has been “encouraged by the progress so far”.

Last October, the Department for Health and Social Care banned retailers from displaying products high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) in prominent locations such as shop entrances as part of a number of new restrictions.

It had also planned to ban multibuy deals on HFSS foods, such as “buy one, get one free”, but then delayed this to 2023.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delayed this further to 2025, claiming it would impact shoppers facing significant cost-of-living pressures.

Nevertheless, most grocery retailers made a raft changes in line with the original deadline last year.

Tesco said it has stopped multibuy offers for most products but does still use these offers for some frozen food items and for Christmas party food.

Tesco shopper
Tesco said it is ‘encouraged’ by the change in shopping habits (PA)

The supermarket chain has claimed in a new report that its interventions have helped drive “healthier choices” by its shoppers.

It said 3.3 million customers purchased at least 10% more healthy products last year following the changes.

The retailer said it has also witnessed a 12% increase in sales volumes year-on-year for “better basket” products, which are “higher fibre, or lower in sugar and calories, or produced in a way that is better for the planet”.

It added that sales volumes of low and no sugar drinks have grown 11% year-on-year, while volumes of new and reformulated biscuits are up 8%.

Mr Prasad said: “The UK has record levels of obesity which is having a huge impact on the NHS and our wider economy, as well as jeopardising the long-term health and prospects of the next generation.

“At Tesco we have seen what’s possible when we create the conditions and incentives to help people to fill their baskets with products that are healthier and more sustainable, but still affordable.

“I’m encouraged by the progress so far and look forward to even greater collaboration with our suppliers and partners as we work towards our 2025 goal.”