One hundred food businesses have now pledged to increase the amount of vegetables they buy and sell after a number of new signatories joined the Food Foundation’s Peas Please campaign.
This month Ulster University Business School and the University of Stirling became the 99th and 100th pledgers to sign up to the initiative that has delivered 162 million additional portions of vegetables into the UK food system since its launch three years ago.
The two universities have committed to serving and promoting vegetables to their students to increase consumption. Blackpool Catering Services has also pledged to increase the amount of veg served across its portfolio by 10%, while Swperbox in Wales has become the first meal kit delivery service to sign up to Peas Pleas with a pledge to include at least two portions of veg in every meal.
The new pledgers join major out of home businesses including Baxter Storey, ISS, JD Wetherspoons and Zizzi in committing to drive higher levels of veg consumption.
Meanwhile, five supermarket pledgers – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Co-op and Lidl – have committed to add value to the government’s healthy start voucher scheme as part of their support for the Marcus Rashford End Child Food Poverty Taskforce.
Elsewhere among retailers, Sainsbury’s has made a new commitment to report on sales of vegetables as a proportion of total sales volume, while Tesco has pledged that 66% of its ready meal range will contain at least one portion of veg.
“It is great to see 100 major food businesses commit to increasing veg consumption to support better health for millions of people,” said Anna Taylor, executive director at the Food Foundation. “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.”