Sodexo has joined major supermarkets, food-on-the-go chains and manufacturers at a summit taking place in central London today to commit to increasing the amount of vegetables in its meals.
The Peas Please initiative, organised by The Food Foundation, focuses on securing commitments from industry and government to improve the availability, acceptability (including convenience), affordability, and quality of the vegetable offer in shops, schools, fast food restaurants and beyond, and in turn stimulate increased vegetable consumption among the UK public, particularly children and those on a low income.
Sodexo is responsible for over one million meals per day that are served in schools, work restaurants, hospitals and armed forces.
The pledge will see Sodexo commit to increasing the volume of vegetables procured by 10 per cent by 2020, refining its recipes to be more vegetable focused, continuing to develop sustainable meals, and to support the promotion of vegetable-focused menus across the range of sites where it operates.
Research shows that eating too little veg contributes to 20,000 premature deaths in the UK every year and that we should all be eating at least an extra portion every day. Data released by think tank The Food Foundation this summer showed that UK consumers are buying two thirds less veg than the amount recommended by health experts. According to Government guidance on a healthy diet, 20 per cent of our shopping should be made up of vegetables, but in reality we only reach 7.2 per cent.
David Mulcahy, Food Development and Innovation Director at Sodexo, said: “The Peas Please pledge is an opportunity for organisations like Sodexo to help consumers increase their vegetable consumption
“Through our corporate responsibility commitments, we are committed to offering 100 per cent of our consumers’ healthy lifestyle choices every day.”
Last week Sodexo announced a new sandwich range to cut 86 million calories a year to consumer by using lower fat mayonnaise. The reduced calorie counts fits with Sodexo’s broader ambitions to encourage consumers to eat more healthily – one of its Better Tomorrow 2025 commitments.
Sodexo has also been working with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) over the last four years to create a set of 35 sustainable recipes, under the Green & Lean banner, with vegetables accounting for two-thirds of the volume of the meal.