History of Peas Please

We launched Peas Please in 2017 to galvanise change. With veg consumption having remained stagnant in the UK since the 1970s despite widespread awareness of initiatives like the 5-a-day campaign we knew we had a large task ahead of us. So we started by devising eight workstreams spanning the food system, each chaired by external advisers who explored what could be done within each workstream to boost veg consumption. This helped us to develop the commitments framework we have subsequently used with all Peas Please pledgers, helping us to identify where the barriers to action were and identifying commitments which could be secured from businesses depending on their sector.

You can read more about our original eight workstreams here:

  1. Veg in Everything
  2. Veg on Show
  3. Veg on the Go
  4. Veg Direct
  5. Urban Veg
  6. Outlook for Veg
  7. Clever with Veg
  8. Veg Everywhere

To help us better understand the barriers and opportunities for increasing the production and consumption of UK, veg we kicked things off by publishing a briefing in November 2016 exploring all things veg – Veg Facts – which ended up being the first in our series of Veg Facts reports. Read a summary of our first Veg Facts report here.

The following year saw us hosting the first ever Veg Summit at City Hall, where we also announced our trailblazing original group of pledgers, including Lidl, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Greggs, Mars Food, Nestle, Sodexo, BaxterStorey, Autograph Education and Simply Fresh. Not yet established in Northern Ireland, we also held simultaneous events (no mean feat!) in Edinburgh and Cardiff with our partners in Scotland and Wales. Read a summary of the 2017 Veg Summit here.

Following the summit the programme went from strength to strength, with additional pledgers announced and a common vision for the initiative discussed at our pledger’s conference in 2018. Our sister campaign, Veg Power, also emerged this year following a competition originally held at the 2017 summit to find the best new ad idea for making veg more exciting and appealing for kids. The first Veg Power advertising campaign – Eat Them to Defeat Them – was launched in 2019 with ITV and reached 38 million people. 2019 was also the year Peas Please began its People’s Panels work, bringing together citizens in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to review Peas Please pledges and ensure they were being delivered as part of ensuring accountability for the programme. During seven workshops attended by 63 people and 4 site visits to review the pledges in action, the People’s Panels identified a diverse set of voices and experiences in vegetable consumption, and found that intake was influenced by culture and habit. This pilot formed the basis of what is now our Veg Advocate programme, bringing citizen lived experience into everything we do. 

With generous support from the National Lottery Community Fund obtained in 2019 for a 4-year period, Peas Please continues to champion veg and support everyone in the UK to eat more veg.

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