Peas Please prize ceremony celebrates commitments to increasing veg consumption

Yesterday (Monday 12th October) ­marked the launch of Veg Fest – a week long e-conference bringing together a community of businesses, cities, organisations, and individuals to discuss what place vegetables have in food policy, diets, and the post-Covid-19 food environment.

The opening day played host to the inaugural Peas Please Prizes, an opportunity to celebrate milestones and achievements made by Peas Please pledgers. Here’s a roundup of this year’s winners and runners up in each category:

The Peas Please Innovation Prize: Recognising innovative activities to support Peas Please pledges and the overall mission of boosting veg consumption.

Runner-up: Cardiff and Vale University

Winner: Sainsbury’s

The Sainsbury’s Little Ones Range was launched in April 2018 to provide babies and children up to three-years-old with all the nutrients they need for the vital first 1,000 days of their development.

Two years in development, the range minimised the use of concentrated fruit juices and purees with all the tray meals containing two of the recommended 5-a-day. The range is intended to offer a variety of tastes, textures and flavours for children to discover, with a greater focus on vegetables as first foods.

The savoury first tastes pouches give babies a first taste of veg and help them develop a liking for their veggies to support a veg-led weaning approach.

The Peas Please Pledger Champion prize: recognising pledger organisations who have effectively championed and implemented their Peas Please pledge/s across their organisation as a core part of their business proposition.

Runner-up: Greggs

Winner: Birds Eye

Their pledge covers a number of different business areas, including commitments to: increase TV and online advertising for vegetables by 42%, increase their vegetable product range, invest in consumer health messaging,  working with all major supermarkets to grow the number of veg promotions in store to attract more families into vegetables and pulses and adding nine new products to its vegetable range in 2018.

Birds Eye’s successes included increasing the percentage of veg sold by their business with their advertising campaign reaching 12 million consumers over the course of 2019.

The Peas Please Individual Champion: Recognising an outstanding contribution made by an individual working within one of our participating pledger organisations.

Runner-up: Linda Cregan from school food caterer, ISS, and Food Director of the ISS Education team.

Winner: Edward Morgan, from independent food wholesaler Castell Howell.

Edward has been a true star for his support on Veg Power, distributing 47, 000 Eat Them to Defeat Them packs to schools across Wales in 2019 and ensuring schools get Welsh Language campaign materials.

The Peas Please Rising Star: recognising new Peas Please pledgers who have made particularly impactful and ambitious pledges for helping us all to eat more veg.

Winner: Hendersons Group (SPAR NI)

With over 400 EUROSPAR, SPAR and VIVO stores, Hendersons  have pledged to develop their  partnerships with local suppliers, farmers and growers through the relaunch of The Greengrocer range, setting a goal of increasing vegetable sales by 5% year on year through cross-channel activities, including; offering a wider range of convenience products such as prepared sliced and diced vegetables, packaged leaves and salads and a new range of stir-fry microwavable packs. Hendersons are the first retailer in the UK to pledge a percentage increase in veg sold across their business. This is significant as it shows a true commitment to helping Peas Please significantly boost the amount of veg eaten in the UK.

The Peas Please Good Society Prize: Recognising pledger efforts to support equitable access to veg  particularly on initiatives that are particularly relevant to Peas Please such as school food, healthy start, and horticulture.

Runner-up: Scottish government

Winner: Lidl

Worthy winners for their continued support and commitment to the Healthy Start voucher scheme which supports low income families with small children to buy fruit and veg. The recent National Food Strategy recommendations, part one, included a recommendation for the government to increase the value of the voucher and for retailers to support the scheme where possible, so we welcome the support Peas Please retail pledgers continue to show the statutory scheme.

The Veg City Prize: Recognising impactful and integrated place-based approaches to increasing veg uptake at a local level for cities participating in the Veg Cities campaign

Runner-up: Hull

Winner: Brighton and Hove

Brighton and Hove are truly a pioneer Veg City, working tirelessly to reduce the inequalities that exist in the city, where fewer than 50% of primary pupils from the most deprived areas are eating their five-a-day compared with over 90% in the least deprived areas. Their 2019 Veg City Challenge brought together leading chefs to create a grab-n-go veg-packed recipe that is now being trialled in secondary schools.

Brighton and Hove’s citywide Healthy Choice Award scheme for nurseries now includes a requirement for 2 to 3 types of veg per day. Their minimum buying standards for catering contracts reflect the commitment to increased veg consumption

And Brighton and Hove have over 70 community gardens and outdoor projects where people come together to grow food, learn new skills and socialise.

Veg-O-Meter Prize: This recognises the biggest % increase in vegetable portions sold or served by our pledgers

Runner-up: Tesco

Winner: Autograph Education, part of Interserve catering

Autograph Education have committed to serve two portions of veg in every meal across 100% of their primary schools, balancing between the veg that are the children’s favourite and providing a variety of seasonal vegetables. They increased the number of portions of vegetables served in schools during 2018-2019 by 244% compared to the year before.

Also covered as part of Veg Fest earlier today was a policy discussion with a panel of experts including Sheila Dillon (BBC Radio 4 Food Programme), Tim Benton (Chatham House), Neil Parish MP, Dr Tasmin Cooper (National Food Strategy) and Professor Guy Poppy (Southampton University and Director UKRI). They discussed how Covid-19 has impacted on food system issues, and how can local and national food policies can help to drive up both production and consumption of veg.

Veg Fest will be running until World Food Day on Friday 16 October and features a host of exciting veg-related events. Here’s a rundown of what’s coming up:

Tuesday 13 October, 9.30 – 11am: What can businesses do to support more veg?

Tuesday 13 October, 11.30 – 12.30pm: Changing behaviour and behaviour change; how should organisations engage with their customers on sustainable and healthy diets?

Wednesday 14 October, 9.30 – 11am: Veg Power presents Eat Them to Defeat Them 2020 – the aftermath

Friday 16 October, 9.30 – 11.00am: How we can work together locally to encourage communities to take action on veg?

Friday 16 October, 12.30 – 1.30pm: Veg Fest Cook-along Lunch for World Food Day

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