Caterlink, Olive Catering, Vertas and Compass Group UK & Ireland, along with the University of West London, have signed up to the Peas Please initiative, which works to increase vegetable consumption in the UK. This brings the number of catering firms involved in the scheme to 14.
The announcement follows news last week that Brits are eating no more fruit and vegetables than they did almost a decade ago, despite government campaigns to encourage people to eat more healthily. The latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) data shows little change in intake of fruit and vegetables over a nine year period to 2017 with all age and sex groups consuming below the 5-a-day recommendation.
Peas Please aims to bring together businesses and brands from across the food system to secure commitments to improve the availability, affordability and quality of the veg offer in shops, schools, fast food restaurants and canteens. The initiative delivered 4.8 million additional portions of veg in its first year.
“We’ve made great progress in the last eight months but the pressure is now on to change pledges into portions to ensure genuine impact on the nation’s health,” said Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation.
This week, Compass Group UK & Ireland has pledged to increase its procurement volumes of vegetables across all sectors of its business by 15% by 2020. It will also be reformulating recipes to include more vegetable content “wherever possible”, and will be launching a “plant forward” promotion encouraging and supporting all customers to eat more vegetables.