Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis has pledged the supermarket will ‘play its part’ in cutting the meat consumption of UK shoppers.
The comments, which until now have been unreported, were made last year at the launch of a joint Tesco-WWF initiative to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket.
Speaking at the Financial Times Global Food Summit in London this week (November 19), Tesco’s responsible sourcing director Giles Bolton suggested the ambition was to meet the target by 2030 because this was the ‘scale of transformation required’.
When asked about Mr Lewis’ comments, and whether Tesco was urging its customers to go vegetarian, Mr Bolton said: “I think pretty much all the science recognises there have to be shifts in overall consumption.
“It is about how you support and enable customers wanting to change to make it really easy.
“We have launched a plant-based solutions range which is a core price level, accessible to everybody, and takes us up to 300 plant-based products, which is a big change for the company.
“But [we] also [need to consider] how to work with farmers and producers to reduce the impacts so every type of foodstuff has a role.”
Mr Lewis went on to acknowledge there would be ‘some losers’ from any change to the food system, but said Tesco would work in partnership with farmers to help them adapt.
Just last month, the supermarket giant was slammed by farmers for running an advert which featured a child telling her father she ‘does not want to eat animals anymore’.
The advert sees an ‘old favourite, sausage casserole’, changed to include ‘meat-free Cumberlands’.
At the time, a spokesman for the company said Tesco always aimed to ‘offer choice’ and ‘remained absolutely committed to working in partnership with UK farmers’.