Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke has unveiled plans to use its Clubcard loyalty programme to tackle the UK’s obesity crisis.
Tesco had a duty to tackle the epidemic of poor health caused by illnesses such as diabetes and wanted to help customers find healthier alternatives, he told The Grocer.
“The information provided by Clubcard is invaluable,” said Clarke. “Our customers have told us they’d like help in choosing healthy options, so on an individual level, we want to see whether customers would welcome tailored suggestions for how they could shop more healthily. Customers would need to opt in of course, but we think it could be a really innovative way of highlighting those healthier options.”
The move comes as Tesco this week unveiled plans to ramp up the promotion, availability and innovation of healthier foods in store. It had already smashed one of its health targets by removing one billion calories from its own label soft drinks, as part of its Responsibility Deal pledge, it said.
“We’ve already made great strides in some areas, like reducing the number of calories and salt in our products and where a product has been improved in this way, we want to make sure our customers are clear about the benefits,” added Clarke. “We want to take others with us, including our suppliers.”
He warned that Tesco would not be afraid to take hard decisions in removing items deemed not to meet its health drive. “It’s too early to talk about specific lines. But when we’ve put our minds to something in the past, we’ve shown that making big changes is possible,” he said. “We won’t encourage healthier lifestyles by editing choices, but we can influence choice by making healthier options.”