Supermarket giant Tesco has announced that it is to introduce vegan labelling across its own-brand product range, the second major retailer to do so in just six months. The news comes in the wake of Animal Aid’s Mark It Vegan campaign, which calls on major supermarkets to introduce clear labelling on all vegan own-brand products.
Tesco has created a new in-house vegan logo that will feature on own-brand products that are free from animal derived ingredients. The new label is expected to start appearing in-store in the near future and will be rolled out to all applicable goods over the next two years as existing stock and packaging is replaced, and where it is practical to do so.
In December 2016, rival supermarket Asda announced that it would be introducing vegan labelling on all appropriate products in its own-brand range, starting with 18 items and adding others as packaging is refreshed. Prior to this, only Sainsbury’s and the Co-operative routinely labelled vegan products.
Says Animal Aid’s Vegan Campaign Manager, Ben Martin:
“This is fantastic news and is another sign that big businesses are taking the needs of the UK’s half a million vegans seriously. Tesco has already introduced a range of specialist egg- and dairy-free products in recent years, but this new measure will mean that vegans will be able to easily identify the many Tesco products that are animal-free by accident, rather than design. With veganism growing rapidly in the UK, this will make shopping much easier, especially for new vegans.”
A spokesperson for Tesco added:
“We continue to be committed to serving all our shoppers a little better every day and our new Tesco vegan and vegetarian labels will help the growing number of customers looking to buy these products. We want to ensure that all our products that are suitable for vegans are labelled as vegan wherever possible, and the new labels will start to appear on products in the near future. We will take a phased approach to updating our product labels with the aim to complete this process within the next two years.”
Animal Aid launched the Mark It Vegan campaign in July 2016 in response to calls from its supporters who were frustrated at the inconsistency and general lack of clear labelling of vegan products in supermarkets. Almost 8,000 people have signed an online petition calling for major retailers to clearly label all their vegan own-brand products and many others have contacted supermarkets directly in support of the campaign.
Interest in veganism has grown rapidly in the UK in recent years, with more than 500,000 people now saying they no longer consume any animal products, an increase of more than 300 per cent in the last decade. Young people in particular are adopting veganism, with many people stating that animal welfare, environmental issues and health concerns were their main motivations.