#RootingForVeg – the pledge for more veg by Gail Bridgeman
Meet Gail Bridgeman, our Head of Commercial Campaigns & Activation, and learn more about how we are supporting the pledge for more veg.
Made on the 12th October 2017 with The Food Foundation as part of the Peas Please initiative, Bidfood proudly agreed to support this initiative with three main themes; increase the vegetable options offered and served to staff as meal and snack solutions, create recipe suggestions for our customers and finally, establish a pro-vegetable communication campaign through marketing channels.
“We were immediately drawn to the peas please initiative as it is one of the first we have encountered that actually encourages people to eat more of something! Having worked with The Food Foundation we were shocked by the stats they shared with us and knowing that 80% of adults and 95.5% of children aged 11-16 years are not eating enough veg plus thirty years ago, 83% of the veg we ate came from the UK. Now it is 58%, partly because we eat more exotic veg.”
Top ten veg facts
- Everyone needs to be eating at least one extra portion of veg a day. Many of us, including children, are eating hardly any veg at all
- Our veg consumption is in decline and is no better than it was in the 1970s, in spite of the 5 A Day campaign
- More than a third of veg eaten by children is highly processed, resulting in a situation where 17% of children’s veg comes from pizza and baked beans
- Diets that are low in veg are associated with more than 20,000 premature deaths across the UK
- Eating one more portion of veg while reducing meat consumption could reduce our diet-related greenhouse gas emissions by almost a fifth
- We throw away about half a portion of veg a day and more is wasted on the farm and in the supply chain
- A meagre 1.2% of food advertising spend goes on veg
- Horticulture is the most labour-intensive agricultural sector, employing one person for every 10 acres but many of them are migrants whose future is now uncertain
- Our horticulture sector benefits least from agricultural subsidies even though it produces food that is healthy and is often low in carbon emissions
- Thirty years ago, 83% of the veg we ate came from the UK. Now it is 58%, partly because we eat more exotic veg. If we increased veg consumption in line with dietary guidance, the UK would have the chance to grow 1.5 million metric tonnes more veg a year
Source: Veg Facts. A briefing by the Food Foundation – November 2016
“As with all new initiatives we needed the support of our colleagues and following a survey whereby 75% of respondents confirmed they would eat more vegetables we immediately asked all canteen facilities to ensure two vegetables were available with every main meal. We then followed this up with a vegetable quiz to help highlight the benefits and some of the startling facts associated with the reduction in vegetable consumption and we now have our team of sustainability co-ordinators considering how we can keep the momentum going for the future. The most recent of which was the canteen “going veggie for the day” which was such a success that we plan to make it a regular event showcasing different vegetables and highlighting their nutritional value.”
Our suppliers play a big part in the success of our pledges. Holly Marrero-Easson, our Brand Controller, has engaged with suppliers to build veg stories, that you can read here, to allow us to share with customers the full supply chain, from plant to plate, of our own brand veg which are sourced from UK suppliers that are proud to grow and sell their products here in Great Britain.
To help customers learn more about how they can get involved, we have also made our campaign #RootingForVeg a staple part of our customer communication with adverts within our promotional magazine and our vegan publication as well as dedicated website content and social media sharing to inspire customers to try new products and recipe ideas for their menu. Insights and information from The Food Foundation has also been a great support to engage with our suppliers and customers to help share the important message and change that the Peas Please initiative is driving.”
We couldn’t have done all this without the help from the team at The Food Federation and we are proud of the feedback received from Anna Taylor, Executive Director “We are delighted that Bidfood has joined Peas Please and made a pledge to help increase the veg consumption of their staff and customers. As a year one pledger, Bidfood are leading the way and we hope many more companies and organisations will join to make Peas Please have real impact and help improve the nation’s health.”