The Veg Project
This Veg Project, Peas Please, is about increasing veg consumption by making veg the easy choice.
Nourish and WWF-UK are supporting the Food Foundation in this new exciting initiative.
Between November 2016 and June 2017, we will explore the levers along the supply chain which have the potential to increase vegetable consumption in a sustainable manner. It will not focus on traditional nutrition education messaging as a mechanism for change, but instead consider the wealth of opportunities for improving vegetable intake by improving the availability, acceptability (including convenience), affordability, and quality of the vegetable offer in shops, schools, fast-food restaurants and beyond.
We’re still developing ideas, but we know it’s about at least five peas in a pod:
1. PLEASURE: making our veg delicious whenever we eat it and connecting us to where our veg comes from
2. PRODUCERS: growing veg sustainably at all different scales
3.PRICES: that work for producers and consumers
4. PRODUCTS: new ways of getting veg into what we buy and eat every day
5. PLACEMENT: more prominence in shops and on menus, more places to buy it in towns and cities
The project aims to secure commitments, embedded within an accountability framework, from industry and government to improve the vegetable offer, and stimulate increased consumption among the UK public, particularly children and those on a low income.
Key stages & opportunities to get involved
The project aims to bring together a wide range of actors who are working at various points along the vegetable supply chain: farmers, processors, retailers (large, small and social enterprises) and food services, as well as people working in government, third sector, research and development, and trade communications.
15-20 high-level participants from multiple sectors and sub-sectors within the food industry, creative industries and digital industries attended a retreat. This focused on reaching agreement on the key supply side barriers (inc. gov policy, practice and legislation) to vegetable consumption within and beyond the following themes:
- UK vegetable production
- Routes to market
- Point of sale, advertising, and formulation
- Waste and packaging
- Public provision
- Innovation and R&D
See a video of the Retreat here
On November 7th, we simultaneously launched the project in London, Cardiff and Glasgow.
Nourish Director Pete Ritchie introduced the project – you can see the presentation here. We also heard from Peter Midgley from Food Standards Scotland, Wendy Russell from the Rowett Institute and Margaret Fraser and John Thorburn from NG Homes.
The Scottish launch was a very positive event, with attendees from many different sectors and backgrounds. There was unanimous support for the project, although everyone agreed that the challenges to increasing veg intake are multifold and substantial.
You can see the Storify of the three simultaneous launches here.
In coming months participants to the retreat will convene and chair a series of workshops to review in more detail the barriers and identify supply chain solutions. The workstreams are described in this draft plan for the further steps of the project.
Experts will be invited to join these workshops to provide advice and evidence on specific areas which are discussed. We will aim to have a diversity of perspectives in the group and draw members from a wide range of constituencies to bring technical knowledge as well as leadership skills to the discussion.
With a clear picture of what needs to change and can change, we will seek commitments from the Ministers, business leaders, and third sector leaders in line with the recommendations in a final summit in London on 7th June. We may also hold a Scottish summit in Scotland later in June, tbc.
If you would like to be kept up to date or be involved in a working group, you can register your support and interest in the project here (Food Foundation website). If you live in Scotland and want to contribute to Scotland-specific working groups, you can also get in touch with Pete.