Tesco has removed select John West tuna products from its shelves, claiming the move is a result of the company failing to reach its sustainability targets.
However, it also comes amidst a massive consolidation drive by Tesco to try and reduce the number of branded lines on its shelves. Last year, added-sugar drinks aimed at children (such as Ribena and Capri-Sun) fell victim to the brand cull.
The supermarket said that “decided to delist a number of core John West lines” last week after finding that since May, 80,000 people had petitioned for the removal of John West brands from Tesco’s stock.
In 2011, John West committed to catching 50 per cent of its tuna using the “pole and line” process which is reportedly minimises risk to the species amid concerns stocks continue to dive. However, last year Greenpeace released data claiming closer to two per cent of its stock was captured in such a way.
Tim Smith, group quality director of Tesco, said: “One of the most popular varieties of fish we sell is tuna. Since 2012 all our own-label tinned tuna sold in the UK has been fished using sustainable catch methods, a commitment we extended to all tuna used as an ingredient in our own-brand sandwiches, pastas and salads.”
“Our customers will still see some John West tuna products on our shelves, and we are working with John West on a plan for these remaining lines to be converted to sustainable tuna sources as soon as possible.”
Sales of Tesco’s own brand tuna will likely rise in the absence of John West products.