100 businesses pledge to increase vegetable consumption across the UK

The Peas Please project, which works to make vegetables more appealing, accessible and affordable for everyone now has 100 major businesses pledgers signed up. 

Since the project launched 3 years ago it has delivered  162 million additional portions of vegetables into our food system working across all 4 nations.

This represents 80% of UK retailers now committing to major initiatives to help drive up vegetable consumption across the UK. The ambitious targets for veg sales and procurement are vital to increase vegetable consumption and is a main focus of the work of the Food Foundation and partners Food Sense Wales, Nourish Scotland and Food NI in the lead up to the United Nations Food Systems Summit in September and COP26 in November. It shows a real commitment from retailers and food businesses to move towards clear and transparent reporting on vegetable sales which is seen as a vital part of transforming the food system to be more sustainable and provide healthy food for everyone.

The retailer and food business pledges include :

Business Pledge
Waitrose Have confirmed a new SMART target for the amount of veg in their ready meals and will be reporting back on veg portions for the first time. Veg will also be promoted in the main meal recipes in their magazines and newspaper. Waitrose plan to inspire customers by championing veg through events, Cookery Schools and in store activities
Tesco 66% of their ready meal range will contain at least 1 portion of veg
Mars Food Committed to sell 450 million portions of veg through their products including the Dolmio range by June 2023
Lidl A strengthened commitment to promote veg and  drive up sales with new transparent reporting of sales of veg
Sainsbury’s A new commitment to report on sales of vegetables as a proportion of total sales volume
Henderson’s Group Have renewed their commitment to increase sales of vegetables by 5% year on year, in addition to sourcing 75% of produce from local suppliers, farmers and growers. A range of promotional activities will be regularly communicated to shoppers via their network of 470 SPAR, EUROSPAR, & VIVO stores in Northern Ireland.
Co-op Will help customers eat more veg through Co-op products and through communications. Will look for opportunities to increase veg through reformulation as well as developing new products with 5 a day claims. Will use communication channels to inspire customers to eat more veg by providing delicious recipes with a new focus on promoting seasonal veg
Association of Convenience Stores New commitment to support communication of the Healthy Start scheme to promote uptake of the new £4.10 vouchers available to vulnerable families
Mash Direct A new commitment to continue to support farming and veg production in Northern Ireland, including a Grow Your Own campaign to encourage consumers to grow their own fresh veg or herbs themselves and to ensure that any surplus veg produced by Mash Direct is diverted to charities

The 99th and 100th Pledgers to sign up to the initiative are Ulster University Business School and the University of Stirling who will be serving and promoting vegetables to their students to increase consumption. This is vitally important as we know 95% of teenagers currently don’t eat enough veg.

Blackpool Catering services have also pledged to increase the amount of veg served across their portfolio by 10% and Superbox in Wales is the first meal kit delivery service to sign up to Peas Pleas with a pledge to include at least 2 portions of veg in every meal.

The renewed pledges follow five Peas Please pledgers (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Co-op and Lidl) committing to add value to the government’s Healthy Start voucher scheme as part of supporting the Marcus Rashford End Child Food Poverty Taskforce and their Peas Please commitments. In total, seven UK retailers added value to the voucher scheme for young pregnant women and low income families with children aged under four, offering coupons or topping up the value of the vouchers for fruit and veg and other essentials in the interim period before the value increased this April.

 

Retailer Offer Mechanism UK reach Time period of offer
Coop Adding £1 When a HS voucher is redeemed, an additional £1 credit will be automatically added by the till system against that transaction for each voucher redeemed England, Wales and Northern Ireland 17th December 2020 onwards
Tesco Adding £1 Healthy Start: When vouchers are redeemed recipients will automatically receive a till receipt coupon for £1 to redeem on their next shop when £1 is spent on fresh or frozen fruit and veg.
Best Start: upon presentation of the Best Start card and identification by recipients at the checkout, staff will scan a coupon remove £1  if they have spent £1 or more on fresh or frozen veg.
England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland 16th November 2020 – 31st March 2021 (19 weeks)
Lidl Adding £1.15 If customers spend £4.25 or more on HS foods once their £3.10 voucher is scanned they will automatically receive £4.25 off their basket England and Wales 4th January 2021 to 4th April 2021 (4 months)
Sainsbury’s £2 vouchers to redeem on fruit and veg Coupons are automatically issued at the checkout when a HS voucher is redeemed. These are money off coupons redeemable against future F&V purchases to the value of £2 England Feb 15th 2021 until May 9th 2021 (12 weeks)
Waitrose The supermarket will increase voucher value from £3.10 to £4.60 (£1.50 top-up). Customers present their vouchers at the checkout where the supermarket will automatically increase their value. The vouchers can be spent on healthy foods, including fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables. England, Scotland, Wales From February 3rd 2021 until April (tbc)

This year’s Annual Veg Summit will be held on the week of 14th June 2021.

Anna Taylor, Executive Director the Food Foundation says, “It is great to see 100 major food businesses commit to increasing veg consumption to support better health for millions of people.  Transparent and regular reporting against targets is vital if we are to turn the tide on our current dietary crisis and see future generations face a better and healthier future with everyone having access to an affordable and sustainable diet.”

Joanne Lunn, Health Manager at Waitrose, says, “We’re committed to helping our customers make healthy choices and are proud to have signed up to the Food Foundation’s Veg Pledge. We have lots of activity in place to inspire our customers, including exciting veg-based recipes, tips and advice, as well as Cookery School classes and events.”

Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Education and Aspiration, Cllr Kath Benson, says, “We are extremely proud to make the Peas Please pledge to help improve the lives of children living in Blackpool. By 2023, our catering services aim to increase the amount of vegetables procured across our schools’ portfolio by 10 per cent. We will do this by developing our menus and recipes, offering children more vegetables five days a week, as well as refining our meat-free options. Improving school dinners guarantees that children in Blackpool are receiving at least one healthy, balanced meal a day. It is imperative we do everything we can to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need for their growth and development, which will ultimately support their ability to learn. We believe that educating children on food from a young age will help them to make healthier choices later on in life.”

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