* Major supermarkets, food-on-the-go chains and manufacturers will pledge to get hundreds of thousands of us eating more veg at a UK-wide Summit today *

*Research shows eating too little veg causes 20,000 premature deaths in the UK each year*

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.

Research shows that eating too little veg contributes to 20,000 premature deaths in the UK every year and that we should all be eating at least an extra portion every day. 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: Lidl, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Greggs, Mars Food, Nestle, Sodexo, BaxterStorey, Autograph Education 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.

Detailed pledges (by sector) below, but highlights include:

  • Over 50% of the grocery market share is taking part, with pledges from Tesco, Sainsburys, Lidl and Co-op. Lidl will expand its fun-sized veg range and has pledged to pack more veg into their ready meals; the Co-op is increasing veg in lunchtime meal deals, Sainsbury’s will increase the amount of products that contain a ‘one of your five a day’ message; and Tesco is making more veg a key element of their new product development. There are also pledges to push more veg through advertising, social and print media.
  • Food-on-the-go retailer Greggs pledges to sell an additional 15 million portions of veg between January 2018 and October 2020 by including at least one portion of veg in their soup and leaf-based salad range and increase the volume sold. They are also pledging that 50% of Greggs cold sandwiches will provide half a portion of veg.
  • 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. Even Our Kitchen, a brand new ready meal social enterprise in Thanet Kent is pledging.
  • Contract caterers BaxterStorey (working with PwC), Healthy Food Company, Interserve and Sodexo (the latter serving millions of meals daily in schools, hospitals and to the armed forces), have all pledged to add more veg to their meals and recipes.
  • Fresh workplace pledges: PwC will offer new veg-packed menus and office based veg mini markets to as many of its 18,000 staff as possible. Bidfood promises to feed its 5000 staff with more veg at no extra cost and Mars Food will offer its 350 staff a healthy meal option which will always include two portions.
  • 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.
  • A number of member organisations are also pledging support, such as the NFU, the Sustainable Restaurant Association and the Soil Association.

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!”


Notes to Editors

The Vegetable Summit is part of Peas Please, a campaign led by The Food Foundation, Nourish Scotland, Food Cardiff and WWF.  This ground-breaking new initiative addresses declining levels of veg consumption and aims to bring together farmers, retailers, fast food and restaurant chains, caterers, processors, broadcasters and government departments with a common goal of making it easier for everyone to eat veg.

The Vegetable Summit will take place in London with simultaneous events in Cardiff and Edinburgh on October 24th 2017.

For more information on the Food Foundation, please click here  and for a full briefing on Veg Facts please click here





On top of our existing work to promote veg consumption, we pledge to include a weekly feature of vegetables on our social media and advertise at least one seasonal vegetable in our magazine, online and on our social media every month. We will promote Peas Please to our customers and indicate which cooking sauces include one of your five a day where possible. We will put vegetables at the top of the agenda when planning retail new product design across all our food categories and increase veg options in our lunchtime meal deals.



We pledge to increase our range of fun sized veg to make it more appealing to children; to include one portion of veg (80g) in every ready meal or an equivalent serving suggestion on pack; to include two portions of veg in all our online recipes and to promote veg in store, online and on printed promotional materials.

We will also continue with our other commitments such as putting veg alongside fruit at the front of our new stores and promoting more than six types of vegetables per month through ‘pick of the week’.



We pledge to increase the amount of products that contain a ‘one of your five-a-day’ message by at least 30, as well as including a ‘one of your five-a-day’ promise into new product development briefs for soups, sandwiches, salads and ready meals.

We also pledge to promote the benefits of vegetables through our digital channels by: ensuring vegetables are either on the homepage or fresh produce landing pages; promising to always include at least two portions of vegetables in our ‘main meals’ recipes site plus provide positive messages about vegetables within our recipes.

In our main stores, vegetables will always be positioned in higher footfall areas plus we will always include a vegetable option when we have a fresh inspirational plinth plus ensure at least one vegetable is listed on produce promotional space.  We also pledge to communicate to stores that Healthy Start vouchers can be spent on vegetables plus include vegetable-based recipes when we’re sharing information with media.


We pledge that when we develop our recipes and introduce new products we will aim to increase the amount of vegetables and ensure more vegetable options are included in evening meals deals. For example, our Finest evening Meal Deal will always include two vegetable side dish options.  We will continue to work with our supplier partners to develop new vegetable-based products to increase the overall consumption of vegetables.




We pledge to update our on-pack and online recipe suggestions to encourage people to add more veggies to the meals that they create and we’ll be helping champion increased veg with our catering customers, using our Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s products. That means we’ll be looking to inspire more veg in over 450 million meals a year!


We pledge to update all of our retail Maggi dry recipe mix, stock cube and stock pot meal recommendations to include at least two portions of vegetables per serving (on-pack and online) by the end of 2018. This will encourage 3 million people who buy these Maggi products every year to eat more veg.



We pledge that 100% of Greggs soup and leaf-based meal salads will  provide at least one portion of veg. We commit to grow the like for like volume each year between January 2018 and October 2020. Through these ranges we will sell an additional 15 million portions of veg over the period from January 2018 to  October 2020.  We also pledge that 50% of Greggs cold sandwiches will provide half a portion of veg. Increased use of veg and salad will be a new strategic criteria for New Product Development.






Autograph Education (part of Interserve) pledges to ensure two portions of veg are served in 30% of schools reached through our Brighton and Hove, Bromley and Hastings contracts.  In the remaining 70% of schools we will take steps to support children to eat more veg and take opportunities where we can to deliver two portions in every meal.


As a foodservice provider in the UK & Ireland serving around one million meals a day to people in hospitals, schools, the armed forces and prisons, we pledge to play our part to help everyone in Britain eat an extra portion of veg a day. We will support this by increasing the number of vegetables we procure by 10 per cent by 2020, creating more vegetable-focused recipes and continuing to roll out our successful pilot of Green & Lean – our sustainable meals range where all dishes are at least two thirds plant based.



Bidfood pledge to include two portions of vegetables as part of the main meals available within our canteens, in a bid to help feed the 5,000 (Bidfood employees). As well as this, we’re looking to increase the amount of veg based snacks available across our business.

Our Food Development team will begin to develop customer recipes that include hidden vegetables, as well as how to swap ingredients for vegetables that don’t increase the cost of the meal for consumers. We also pledge to promote vegetables through our marketing channels, where possible.



We pledge to incentivise retailers to sell more veg by sponsoring a new award at the Retail Industry Awards, Convenience Retail Awards, and HIM CTP Awards. The award will recognise and reward convenience retailers who increase sales and encourage consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables.

We pledge to make sure our side dish in evening meal deals always includes both a salad and a vegetable. We will ensure that all retail main-course recipes published across all advertising space includes at least 2 portions of veg. We will do more veg adverts and make them even more appealing, advertising veg weekly on social media  and at least monthly through both print and digital channels. We will put vegetables in higher footfall parts of the store (including through chilled checkouts) and set aside more space for them. We will dedicate promotional space to at least one vegetable line per week.  We also pledge to make it easier for people with Healthy Start vouchers to spend them on fruit and veg.




We pledge to increase the overall percentage of fruit and vegetables in the meals offered via BaxterStorey restaurants in PwC’s offices across the UK, from 16% to 20% by the end of 2018. We’ll be testing activities such as: dedicated vegetarian and vegan options, fruit and veg mini-mart stands in offices for easier healthy snacking and Celebrate the Seasons ‘hero’ veg campaigns.

Across the wider PwC community, we’ll raise awareness of the campaign via internal channels and produce quarterly e-recipe cards, encouraging our employees to be vegetable trailblazers at home as well as work.


BIRMINGHAM (Birmingham City Council in partnership with Cityserve, Services for Education, Birmingham University, NCASS & The Plough)

We pledge to increase take up of Healthy Start vouchers from 72% to 85% (approximately 2,200 more people). We will increase the numbers of retailers who accept the vouchers and make that more visible. We will include a minimum of two portions of veg in every school meal for over 70,000 Birmingham school children every day and bring our ‘Seed to Plate’ scheme through which pupils learn to grow and cook veg to around 300 Birmingham schools. Our new Great Big Brummie Street Food Competition will support new vendors to launch if they include two portions of veg in their meals. We are developing a public sector nutrition standard in Birmingham and potential providers of food will have to demonstrate how they support groups and the wider population to eat more veg. We will support a PhD in student Health Economics based at University of Birmingham to work with retailers to increase vegetable purchases.

BRIGHTON (Brighton and Hove City Council and Brighton and Hove Food Partnership)
We pledge to become a pioneer Veg City. We will work with public and private sector caterers who serve over 1.5 million meals a month, to serve an extra portion of veg with each meal. We will run training for chefs and cooking classes for the public to make veg the star of the plate. We will promote veg eating in schools and nurseries alongside our Sugar Smart work. We will promote the uptake of Healthy Start Vouchers to help low income families with young children buy fresh or frozen veg. We will work with developers to include spaces for food growing and access to places where residents can buy veg within new developments.

In Redbridge, around 1850 families are eligible for Healthy Start Vouchers, but in 2016 only around 53 to 58% were registered to receive these. We pledge to investigate and map current uptake. We will work in partnership with health visitors and teams working in public health, children centres and local food banks to promote Healthy Start vitamins and vouchers, raise awareness of retailers currently accepting them and increase uptake. We will also make sure Redbridge staff and volunteers are aware of the scheme.



GROENTENFRUIT HUIS (FRESH PRODUCE CENTRE) & DUTCH NATIONAL ACTIONPLAN FOR FRUIT AND VEGETABLESTheDutch vegetable industry, united in the GroentenFruit Huis (Fresh Produce Centre) commit to focus on innovation of product and services in their business with the United Kingdom, with the aim of increasing consumption and to promote a healthy diet, for children in particular. Efforts will continue to provide more attractive, sustainable and high quality products, also in terms of packaging, labelling and marketing. Best practices for driving increased consumption in the wider society (such as healthcare) will be actively shared with UK partners by the Dutch National Action Plan for Fruit and Vegetables


We’re working hard to secure: continued access to sufficient numbers of workers to pick and pack our crops; a crop protection policy that puts us on a level playing field with the rest of the EU; the continuation and development of the Producer Organisation scheme to support investment in productivity on farm; and commitments from retailers to deliver greater fairness and transparency with their suppliers.

We pledge to ask all restaurants participating in our Out to Lunch campaign (25 of the UK’s largest chains) to include two portions of veg in every children’s meal and to support menu development to this end. If just half the chains on the league table achieve this it will mean 100 million children’s meal options served with extra veg each year.


We pledge to continue encouraging members and the restaurant sector at large to increase the amount of veg they sell, through our ‘More Veg and Better Meat’ and ‘Kids Veg Out’ campaigns from 2017, and future campaigns in the coming years.


We are thrilled to announce that following a consultation with Sustainable Food Cities members our next campaign, starting in summer 2018 will be Veg Cities. Over the coming months we will be working with the Food Foundation and other Peas Please partners to build the resources to help other cities get on board with this campaign throughout the 50 strong network of Sustainable Food Cities.


We commit to helping everyone to eat more vegetables by working with businesses via our existing industry-facing programmes to encourage them to help customers throw away less vegetables and get vegetable portion sizes right. We commit to help everyone eat more vegetables and waste less by improving measurement of food consumption. We commit to help consumers eat more vegetables and waste less by improving labelling information on fresh produce as part of developing new labelling guidance for business.



We pledge that all 3000 of the main dishes we provide to parents, restaurants, schools and the NHS include two portions of veg by 2020 (from a current baseline of  88%.).

We pledge to pack a portion of veg into every main meal and our risotto will be made with veg from local allotments.


We pledge to offer two portions of veg with every kids meal at no additional charge. Till prompts will help staff remember to ask every customer who orders a kids meal which two veg they would like.




In Scotland, the Scottish Government has made commitments across different sectors to encourage veg consumption –  for example, supporting convenience stores with their veg offer, reviewing the Healthy Start scheme,  increasing the land available for community growing and reviewing the school food regulations.


Scottish Grocers Federation pledges to continue to work in partnership with the Scottish government to support the ongoing development of the Healthy Living Programme. SGF will use its events, communication channels and stakeholder forums to encourage retailers to participate in the programme and to recognise the benefits of providing customers with healthy eating options, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables.



We pledge to increase the portions of veg in children’s meals from one portion to two, working to implement in 30-40 of our restaurants in year one. We also commit to training our staff to enable a culture that supports veg choices and therefore promotes vegetable consumption with our customers.


Cardiff Council will support the city in becoming a Veg City in partnership with Food Cardiff by: Continuing to support the roll out of the School Holiday Enrichment Programme (Food and Fun) in conjunction with partners in areas of need across the city, to ensure children are receiving two portions of veg in their main meal and learning about healthy eating through food and nutrition resources and training. Working towards all Council catering supporting people to eat two portions of veg in main meals provided; in schools catering, staff canteens and external venues.

And promoting the winning Veg Campaign poster for children through schools and council venues.

We pledge to increase all dishes that currently only have one portion of veg to two portions at no extra cost. Additional vegetable portions will be available and will be cheaper than chips. In addition we will advertise the Peas Please logo on all menus. This will apply to almost 600 meals served on campus each day.


We pledge that one vegetable portion (80g) will be included in all our lunch time menus. We will offer and encourage, our customers, to eat more vegetables, by reducing the price of the second portion, to half price.


Cardiff and Vale UHB commit to increasing the number of portions of veg we sell in our flagship staff and visitor restaurant, Y Gegin, as part of a wider programme of work to  develop healthy options and menu items to ensure a 75% – 25% split in favour of healthy options available at all Health Board catering outlets.  We will monitor progress using our Audit Tool to assess compliance and volume of veg sold. We will also deliver accredited training to Catering Staff to improve their knowledge and confidence to promote healthy options with customers and display the winning Poster in GP surgeries and on hospital screens.


Castell Howell’s manufacturing partner, Authentic Curries and World Foods will endeavour to ensure that all new product development contains a minimum of 1 portion of veg where appropriate. In addition we will increase the vegetable content by up to 20% to a minimum of 80g in a further 5 product lines during 2018 to add to the 16 product lines that currently contain a minimum of 80g of veg –  a total of 21 lines. Castell Howell also commits to driving up veg sales across its 4000+ customer base in Wales and the West of England with immediate effect.


We pledge to always provide our staff and visitors with a minimum of two vegetable options on our hot food counter at lunchtimes. We will trial an initiative to serve free vegetables on Fridays

We pledge to lobby for community growing spaces in all communities in Wales that want to work together to grow vegetables.  We will provide support and training to existing and emerging growing projects helping them engage more people in local food production and increase productivity.  We will continue to raise the challenges and push for more support for sustainable horticulture.



Food Cardiff will lead the city to become one of the first UK Veg Cities by taking actions across the whole of the Food System to drive up veg consumption. The ambition for Cardiff to become a Veg city will feature in the Food Cardiff Partnerships strategy to be launched in 2018. Actions will be developed within the spirit of the Sustainable Food Cities approach and will form part of the bid for Cardiff to become a Silver Sustainable Food City.

Lantra, on behalf of Tyfu Cymru, pledge to produce an Action Plan for Commercial Horticulture for Welsh Government. This will look at how we can protect but also develop and grow the horticulture industry in an innovative and sustainable way in Wales.


Puffin Produce will further develop sustainable horticulture in Wales and contribute to the development of a Wales Horticulture Action Plan with Tyfu Cymru by 2020. We will increase production of vegetables in Wales by 50% by 2020.


As a strategic member of the Food Cardiff partnership, Riverside Real Food commits to supporting Cardiff to become a Veg City. We will do this through promotion of the Veg City campaign at all of our farmers markets – up to 180 per year, through selecting producers working with local veg, on social media, and hold/support promotional events.


Penylan Pantry will support Cardiff to become one of the first Veg Cities. We will do this by continuing to develop our innovative, personal and sustainable approach to selling veg, serving delicious veg dishes in our cafe whilst ensuring waste is kept to an absolute minimum. In addition, we will support Cardiff’s bid to become a Veg city, supporting the campaign and encouraging other businesses to get involved through events, social media and particularly through a Meal Squared Roots to Leaf collaborative business supper.