F6. Fruit and Vegetables

“We will do more to create a positive environment that supports and enables people to increase their consumption of fruit and vegetables.”

The following provides background and supporting information to help organisations understand what this pledge sets out to achieve and how, by becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver this pledge.

What this pledge sets out to achieve and why it is important.

This pledge is designed to mobilise action across the breadth of the food industry to help people to eat more fruit and vegetables, aiming for at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day. This includes fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and juiced products, as well as fruit and vegetables in composite products.

The pledge reflects and encompasses the diversity of the food manufacturing, retailing, and catering sectors. It is purposely broad to ensure that partners across the sectors have the opportunity to pledge activities most relevant to their business to help increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

Sustained action by partners as part of this pledge can help to make fruit and vegetables a more desirable proposition for consumers and improve access and availability of these products across all food outlets. Taken together with a range of action by other partners, including government, primarily through the 5 A DAY work and Change4Life, this should help people eat more fruit and vegetables.

Eating more fruit and vegetables will help people to increase consumption of micronutrients, dietary fibre and non-nutrient substances, which together have benefits for our health. In particular, it will help prevent heart disease and some cancers.

Current consumption levels of fruit and vegetables

Consumption of fruit and vegetables is slowly increasing, but data from the latest National and Diet and Nutrition survey (NDNS) remind us that we need more action to help people eat more fruit and vegetables.  The NDNS found that the average consumption of fruit and vegetables was 3.1 and 3.0 portions for women and men respectively – comparative data from 2001 found that women consumed 2.9 and men 2.7 portions.  The latest NDNS survey collected information on composite foods i.e. tomatoes in a lasagne and when included the consumption levels increased by about one portion to 4.1 and 4.2 for women and men.  The range of fruit and vegetable consumption is very large and only about a third of women and men are achieving the ‘at least 5 A DAY guideline.’

Benefits to Public health

People who consume more fruit and vegetables tend to have a reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers, better bowel health and better micronutrient intakes and status.

Increasing the proportion of fruit and vegetables in the diet can also help to decrease the energy density of the diet. Through reformulation and/or substitution of other foods, it may contribute to efforts to reduce the intake of saturated fat, sugar or salt. If people sustain such behaviour over a long time, it may help to reduce weight gain.

How you can deliver this pledge

You can deliver this pledge by implementing a range of activities to help encourage people to consume more fruit and vegetables.  What follows are examples of activities differing sectors may wish to consider as part of their delivery plans in signing this pledge.  These cover broad areas relating to:

(i)    making fruit and vegetables more widely available across all food outlets,

(ii)  making it easier for consumers to achieve their 5 A DAY target, for example, by incorporating fruit and vegetables into composite dishes or meals

(iii)  encouraging people to increase fruit and vegetables through incentives or other marketing activities

(iv)  providing information to encourage consumption and advice to develop practical skills relevant to fruit and vegetable consumption.

For example:-

Any sector
  • Providing advice to consumers on how to cook fruit and vegetables, and incorporate them into meals prepared at home e.g. tip cards
  • Promoting the 5 a day message at point of sale, on menus and on packs
Food manufacturer/supplier
  • Reformulating composite products to increase fruit and vegetable content, e.g. ready meals
  • Providing recipe suggestions that incorporate fruit and or vegetable on/in product packs
  • Developing new fruit and vegetable based products including composite products.
Food retailer
  • Taking action to make fruit and or vegetables (including frozen, canned, dried) more affordable, for example through promotions or value ranges
  • Promoting fruit and or vegetables more prominently in-store and in communications with customers
  • Increasing the range of “ready to cook” and pre-prepared vegetables available in retail settings
  • Increasing fruit and or vegetable content in appropriate dishes
  • Providing more prominence to vegetable or salad side dishes on menus, actively up selling these at point of sale or including as integral part of main menu item
  • Improving availability of fruit and or vegetables through promotions, for example meal deals in workplace restaurants

Your pledge delivery plan

Shortly after signing up, partners will be asked to provide pledge delivery plans, laying out how they intend to meet each of the pledges they have signed up to.  They will have up to 500 words to describe their plans for each pledge they are signed up to.  All delivery plans will be published on this website.

Reporting progress on your pledge

Partners will be asked to report on their progress by the end of April each year.  For some pledges, partners will be asked to report using pre-defined quantitative measures, while for others they will be asked for a narrative update.  Further information on the reporting arrangements for each pledge is available.  All annual updates will be published on this website.

We are currently developing a web-based system that will allow partners to complete their delivery plans and annual updates online from 2013.

Partners signed up to this pledge.

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