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The Veg Project

The Veg Project

Eating more veg!

What:

This project, in collaboration with the Food Foundation, is about exploring 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 ava
ilability, acceptability (including convenience), affordability, and quality of the vegetable offer in shops, schools, fast-food restaurants and beyond.

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.

Why:

The Food Foundation report Force-fed demonstrated that typical family diets in Britain include too much sugar, salt, red and processed meat and saturated fat, and too little fibre, fruit and veg and oily fish. It also showed that vegetable consumption has been in long-term decline.

A display of fresh fruit and vegetablesThere is growing recognition among policymakers that educating individuals about how to make healthy choices in the supermarket or takeaway restaurant will not move the needle enough to curb diet-related disease and bring down the burgeoning healthcare bill associated with obesity. While nutrition education and measures to encourage behaviour change are important, we need to look to the food environment and food system to find ways to tackle unhealthy diets. Evidence shows that this is likely to deliver a much greater impact than focusing on individual behaviour.

The project acknowledges that while vegetable consumption needs to increase within all socio-economic groups, certain groups – such as low-income households – have particularly low vegetable consumption and particularly high associated health risks.

How:

The project will bring together a wide range of actors who are working at vrious points along the vegetable supply chain (farmers and NFU), processors, retailers (large, small and social enterprises) and food service, 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 will be invited to attend a retreat. This will focus 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 Brainstorm solutions to the barriers

Participants to the retreat will then be invited to convene and chair a series of workshops to review in more detail the barriers and identify supply chain solutions. 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. They will review the diagnoses of the problem as discussed during the retreat and modify it as necessary. They will start to share ideas on solutions, which will then be prioritised according to their impact and feasibility.

With a clear picture of what is necessary, and what needs to change, we will seek commitments from the Ministers, business leaders, and third sector leaders in line with the recommendations.

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