Our pledge of more veg with Peas Please
The University of Edinburgh is increasing the amount of vegetables it serves to encourage students and staff to eat an extra portion per day.
It's one of three positive commitments the University made in joining the Peas Please initiative in January 2020.
What is Peas Please?
A trail-blazing initiative focused specifically on veg, Peas Please aims to bring together farmers, retailers, fast food and restaurant chains, caterers, processors and government departments with a common goal of making it easier for everyone to eat veg.
Committed to collaborative working, Peas Pease is led by project partners the Food Foundation, Nourish Scotland, Food Sense Wales, Food NI, and Belfast Food Network who have secured engagement and support from organisations in cities, business and governments across the UK to bring about change to the whole food system to improve people’s health and wellbeing.
Our three commitments
Accommodation, Catering and Events (ACE) has made the following commitments:
We'll do this by:
- Increasing the number of vegetable side-serving options in our retail (hot food) outlets from one to two, which will give customers the option to add more servings and greater diversity of vegetables to their meals
- Adding more vegetable-based snack offerings in our grab n' go café outlets, in addition to existing options
- Increasing the number of vegetarian salad options in our grab n' go café outlets
- Increasing the number of servings of vegetables in our hot grab n' go items (paninis, bagels, burritos etc.)
In total, we will increase the weight of vegetables used per recipe (averaged across our catered student dining hall, retail outlets and grab n' go outlet recipes) from 90 grams to 150 grams per serving.
- Ensuring that 50% of meal options in all of our outlets are vegetarian or plant-based
- Selling crudité snack-packs in grab n' go outlets, which are very popular
- Allowing hot main meal customers to swap potatoes for other vegetables at no extra cost
- Always offering a vegan hot meal option in our retail outlets (and then increasing the number of veg side dishes from 1 to 2, as described above)
- All soups in our grab n' go and retail outlets are vegetarian or vegan
- Using seasonal and local vegetables on a rotational basis in our menus
Our catering team is producing cook-along videos for students who are self-isolating in self-catered halls. We aim to reach at least 300 students over the 2020/21 academic year.
Our catering team typically delivers in-person cooking workshops to 150 students each year.
When we are able to run these events again, we will increase the servings of vegetables that are used across our cooking workshop menus.
Our pledge to Pease Please shows our ongoing commitment to the stretching but achievable targets we set within an implementation plan underpinning the University's Good Food Policy. Whilst a number of different initiatives exist to increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables, Peas Please seemed an ideal fit: over 50% of items served throughout all catering areas are already vegetarian or vegan, so we're well-equipped to encourage our students and staff to choose more veg.
Why should we all eat more veg?
Government dietary guidance suggests we should be eating seven portions of fruit and veg a day, yet a recent report by the Food Foundation revealed that 80% of adults and 95.5% of children 11-16 years are not eating enough.
To decrease the risk of diet related diseases, we need to be eating, on average, one more portion of veg per day. It’s not just our health that will benefit but the environment and farmers can potentially benefit from more veg too. Research by the London School of Health and Tropical Medicine showed that if we all eat an extra portion of veg and a little less meat we would reduce the UK’s diet-related greenhouse gas emissions by 17%.