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Thu 19 Jan 2023 | by Rob Hutchins

Tesco ushers in next phase of Plant-Based strategy "to meet evolving customer needs"

Tesco is ushering in the next phase of its plant-based strategy with new ‘veg-led’ products which incorporate more vegetables in their recipes set to feature prominently across the category in the future. It comes as Derek Sarno, the supermarket giant’s director of Plant-Based Innovation prepares to leave the outfit this month having firmly established two plant-based brands in the UK through Tesco. Sarno helped set the benchmark across the industry when it comes to plant-based food through the development of two pioneering plant-based brands – Wicked Kitchen and the affordable and accessible Tesco Plant Chef brand which launched in 2019. The chef and food campaigner played a leading role in bringing together Tesco’s in-house team with supplier partners, Bakkavor and Samworth Brothers on a shared mission to create and launch the UK’s first plant-based ranges at scale and introduce new manufacturing techniques. The Tesco Plant Chef brand now includes more than 180 products, while Wicked Kitchen offers products including freshly prepared ready meals, salads, sandwiches and pizzas. Under Sarno, Tesco was the first retailer to introduce plant-based meat alternatives in the meat aisle, as well as establish a commitment to increase plant-based sales by 300% by 2025. Tesco’s development and innovation of plant-based food will now be led by product Director, Breige Donaghy, who will lead a ‘renewed focus on health and ‘veg-led’ propositions which inspire and make it easy for customers to incorporate more veg into their diets.’ Derek Sarno, Tesco’s outgoing director of Plant-Based Innovation, said: “I’m incredibly proud of al we’ve achieved as a team during my time at Tesco. Central to our success has been the partnership between Tesco and our supplier partners – their commitment and innovation has really brought p[lant-based food to a mass audience – whether you’re a devotee of plant-based food or trying it for the very first time, it’s great to see so many customers enjoying Wicked Kitchen and Plant Chef products.” Breige Donaghy, Tesco product and innovation director, said: “We’re incredibly excited about what the next phase of our plant-based journey will bring. We know making healthy eating easy and accessible is key to delivering for our customers. “As we evolve our offer this year, we will expand our ranges of ‘veg-led’ options, introducing some delicious new products which will help customers incorporate more veg into their diets whether they are vegan, vegetarian, or simply wanting to reduce the amount of meat they eat. “We’re looking forward to sharing the new ranges throughout the year and giving customers even more options that meet their evolving needs.”