Food Foundation Announces New Pledges At Veg Summit

Major supermarkets, food-on-the-go chains and manufacturers such as Lidl, Greggs and Mars Food will today [24 October] announce plans to put more veg into ready meals and soups, into on-pack recipes and in promotional deals. Contract caterers are also making pledges, which will see more vegetables included in millions of meals going into schools, work canteens, care homes and armed forces’ canteens.

Data released by think tank The Food Foundation this summer showed that UK consumers are buying two thirds less veg than the amount recommended by health experts. According to Government guidance on a healthy diet, 20% of our shopping should be made up of vegetables, but in reality we only reach 7.2% Companies making Veg Pledges at a Summit in central London today, organised by The Food Foundation, include ACS, Lidl, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Greggs, Mars Food, Nestle, Sodexo, BaxterStorey, Interserve and Simply Fresh.

A simultaneous event organised by Nourish Scotland will see the Scottish government pledge a new Fruit, Veg & Potato Industry Leadership Group which will develop an action plan for Scottish horticulture. Meanwhile in Wales, at an event organised by Food Cardiff, brewery chain Brains will offer more veg in its children’s meals and food wholesaler and manufacturer Castell Howell will increase veg in its products. Cardiff will declare itself a Veg City, along with Aberdeen, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove and the London Borough of Redbridge.

Collectively, the pledges amount to millions more portions of vegetables being added to meals in the UK with potential to give a welcome spur to British horticulture at a time when the sector faces considerable uncertainty. Pledges made include: 

  • Over 50% of the grocery market share is taking part, with pledges from Tesco, Sainsburys, Lidl and Co-op. 
  • Manufacturers Mars Food pledge to add veg to on-pack and online recipes, as well as championing increased veg with their catering customers, inspiring more veg in over 450 million meals in the UK every year. Nestle pledge to include more vegetables in on-pack and online recommendations in their Maggi range, encouraging 3 million customers every year to eat more veg.  
  • New awards for convenience store retailers who get customers eating more veg (thanks to the Association of Convenience Stores)
  • Three Local Authorities, (Birmingham City, Brighton and Hove City and London Borough of Redbridge) are pledging to drive up use of Healthy Start vouchers which provide fruit and veg to those on a low income, and the first two want to become Veg Cities, working to get veg into their schools, nurseries, care homes, street food and pubs. The Sustainable Food Cities Network is pledging to take the Veg City campaign to its 50 member cities.

Executive Director of the Food Foundation, Anna Taylor, said: “Our consumption of veg remains stubbornly low, with dangerous consequences. Our environments conspire against us – sugary fatty foods are piled high and sold cheap, while some places can be fruit and veg deserts. The pledges made today by these companies and public sector organisations have the potential to add up to millions of extra portions of veg on our plates every year. If you think your organisation can help, get in touch and make a Pledge for Veg!”

More information about the Food Foundation and the Peas Please initiative can be found here: 

This entry was posted by Chris on Tue, 24/10/2017 - 10:19