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Businesses urged to make veg pledge

Foodservice businesses are being urged to pledge their commitment to increasing vegetable consumption as part of a new initiative backed by a group of food NGOs.

The Peas Please project is being led by the Food Foundation in partnership with Food Cardiff, Nourish Scotland and WWF with the aim of changing the food system to support consumers to make healthier choices. A recent report by the Food Foundation revealed that 80% of adults and 95.5% of children 11-16 years are currently not eating enough fruit and vegetables.

As part of the initiative, a range of food industry stakeholders, including growers, wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers, restauranteurs and fast food chains, are being asked to make a pledge that will help boost consumption of vegetables.

Quick service and casual dining restaurants are being asked to commit to increase the number of portions of veg they sell while maintaining commitments to reduce waste; and to offer two portions of veg inclusive in every kids’ meal.

Businesses and public sector bodies providing food are being asked to pledge to support people to eat two portions of veg at lunchtime at no extra charge; while manufacturers’ recipes for food service customers should commit to follow standards which include at least two portions of veg in all main meals.

Businesses have been invited to announce their pledge at one of three Peas Please summits which will take place in London, Cardiff and Glasgow on 24 October.

Pledges must be implemented by October 2020 and will be tracked by the Food Foundation on an annual basis

“We are now eating out more and more and we need support from the foodservice sector to help increase our veg consumption,” said Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation.

“So far programmes relying on consumer behaviour change have had little impact on vegetable consumption. By changing the food environment in which we buy food both to eat out and in the home, we can make healthy choices easier.”