Veg Power, the non-profit alliance aiming to increase vegetable consumption across the UK, today launched a new ‘Simply Veg’ campaign to help parents and carers get more vegetables into their their families in these difficult economic times. Developed in response to disturbing new retail sales data which indicates that vegetable sales have rapidly declined to just 6.3% of retail basket value, a 9% reduction from the same period l last year.
These results are consistent with the results of the You Gov survey in which 26% of people said they bought fewer fresh vegetables due to the increase in the price of their groceries, rising to 49% in low-income families. Additionally, analysis of the 2008 financial crisis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows a 7.81% drop in vegetables as a share of total calories, with couples with young children being among the hardest hit. This pattern seems to be repeating itself again in this financial crisis.
Dan Parker, Managing Director of Veg Power, said: “These new data suggest we are seeing a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, where shoppers are responding by spending the same amount on food but reducing the number of items in their basket. It means tough choices. Unfortunately, it seems that vegetables turn out to be one of the first products to be sacrificed, despite a slight increase in their price compared to other food products.
“Our concern is that these new shopping patterns will become a habit that will endure after the cost of living crisis subsides and will ultimately negatively impact the health of our nation. We need to help people keep vegetables in their cart and by joining Simply Veg, parents and guardians will be able to serve up more sustainable, healthy and affordable foods that their families will love.
Anna Taylor, Executive Director of The Food Foundation, said: “With food insecurity on the rise and the cost of living skyrocketing, we face a situation that forces many low-income households to spend less in food and cooking to make ends meet. Vegetables are increasingly seen as an unaffordable luxury and we are seeing worrying signs of declining sales. Simply Veg is an indispensable platform to support struggling families with the advice and guidance they need to ensure their children are properly nourished and to avoid the long-term health consequences of dieting without enough vegetables. .
Simply Veg has been developed to help all parents and caregivers come up with simple and easy ideas from an impressive panel of experts providing the latest advice to help reduce the impact on families’ budgets, encourage acceptance by children and reduce the amount of food waste. Veg Power has mobilized many of its grassroots supporters with over 4,000 posters in schools, doctors surgeries, public buildings and community sites across the UK.
Simply Veg’s expert panel includes nutritionists Dr Laura Wyness RNutr, Dr Glenys Jones RNutr, Charlotte Radcliffe RNutr, Zoe Griffiths RNutr and dietitian Priya Tew, food writer Bee Wilson, sensory education specialist Kim McGowan , geneticist and president of the British Dietetic Association – Dr Giles Yeo MBE, child food psychologist Dr Clare Holley, former BBC Blue Peter gardener – Chris Collins and chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Ching He Huang MBE, Bettina Campolucci Bordi, Tom Hunt and ITV chief Shivi Ramoutar. To ensure that the resource provides the most relevant and helpful information and advice to families, the Expert Panel will be available to answer questions posed by parents/guardians via its “Ask the Expert” feature accessible via the Simply Veg website.