Wide range of retailers join bold industry action calling for more veggies

Wide range of retailers join bold industry action calling for more veggies

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Lidl UK ramps up veg merchandising strategy

The discounter’s head of produce buying believes the time is ripe for vegetables to become the main player on the plate.

Lidl UK has launched a series of wide-ranging promises to give greater prominence to vegetables in-store as well as online and in print.

The move forms part of the discount retailer’s commitment to the Peas Please movement, coordinated by the Food Foundation, which aims to drive up vegetable consumption in the UK.

Announcing the pledges at The Vegetable Summit held this week in London, Emma Byrne, head of fresh produce buying at Lidl UK, said her department is “exceptionally passionate” about fresh produce.

“Vegetables for too many years have been the side dish, as opposed to the main meal,” said Byrne, who has over 10 years of buying experience.

“Veg is exciting; it can be the main player [on a plate]. We need to change people’s attitude.”

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With that in mind, Lidl UK has devised a raft of strategies:

– To expand its Oaklands range of fun-sized veg to make it more appealing to children.
– To include one portion of veg (80g) in every ready meal or an equivalent serving suggestion on pack.
– To include two portions of veg in all online recipes.
– To promote veg in store, online and on printed promotional materials.
– To continue putting veg alongside fruit at the front of its new stores.
– To continue promoting more than six types of vegetables per month through its ‘Pick of the Week’ offer.
– To continue working very closely with its producers and suppliers.

Byrne said Lidl UK introduced vegetables into its award-winning child-friendly Oaklands range this year to help kids on their ‘fresh produce journey’.

“If we can tackle vegetable consumption at an early age, it’s definitely a habit that will be carried into adulthood,” she explained.

“We want to continue with this range and we will continue to expand it this year. The feedback from our customer base been fantastic.”

As for its Pick of the Week offer, Byrne added that Lidl UK hopes to exceed its target of promoting at least six vegetables a month.

“Pick of the Week promotes four items a week and we’re committed to using as much veg as possible in the range,” she explained.

“We’ve pledged at least six per month but we’re confident we’ll achieve more.

“We will work with our producers to push fruits and vegetables and help them to introduce new ones.”

In an ideal world, Byrne said she would love to see more grassroots education about vegetables and produce in general.

“Veg needs to become the main focus to change the mindsets of the customers,” she noted.

“More education on seasonality, how vegetables are grown, how they can be prepared etc. is needed to create a sea change.”

Over the last three years, Byrne noted that the fresh produce department at Lidl UK has grown by over 60%.

Co-op Food promises to raise vegetable marketing

Convenience retailer will feature vegetables more in its magazine, online and via social media in support of Peas Please consumption drive

The Co-op Food has pledged allegiance to the Food Foundation’s Peas Please initiative which aims to increase vegetable consumption in the UK by making it easier for everyone to eat veg.

Joining fellow retailers Lidl UK, Sainsbury’s, Simply Fresh and Tesco, the convenience store operator has promised to expand its marketing of vegetables, on top of its existing work to promote veg consumption.

To that end, Co-op Food will include a weekly vegetable feature on its social media channels and every month it plans to advertise at least one seasonal vegetable in its magazine, online and via social media.

The retailer promises to also promote Peas Please to its customers and to indicate which of its cooking sauces include one portion of your five-a-day where possible.

“We will put vegetables at the top of the agenda when planning new product design across all our food categories,” the group added.

Co-op Food also pledges to increase the vegetable options available in its lunchtime meal deals.

SimplyFresh plans to boost vegetable promotions

Local, upmarket convenience store operator SimplyFresh has unveiled an action-plan designed to encourage shoppers to choose more vegetables as part of the Food Foundation’s Peas Please programme.

Speaking at The Vegetable Summit at London’s City Hall this week, SimplyFresh co-founder Sukhjit Khera announced that the health-focused c-store operator has committed to improving its vegetable promotions, presence and product availability.

“Our core pledge is centred around promotion and ease for the consumer,” Khera told the audience.

On the promotion front, SimplyFresh plans to make vegetables even more appealing by running more adverts featuring veg. The retailer will advertise veg weekly via social media and at least monthly through both its print and digital channels.

“We pledge to promote veg on our social media platforms by doing regular monthly promotions; we will let our consumers know which veg are in season and available locally,” explained Khera.

The group will also ensure that all retail main-course recipes published across all of its advertising space includes at least two portions of veg.

On top of that, SimplyFresh stores will dedicate promotional space to at least one vegetable line per week.

In-store, Khera said SimplyFresh outlets will place vegetables in higher footfall parts of the store (including through chilled checkouts), and set aside more space for them.

“We will be putting veg at key locations near to the entrance of our stores,” Khera explained.

Within its product ranges, Khera added that SimplyFresh pledges to ensure the side dish featured in its evening meal deals always includes both a salad and a vegetable.

“We are incorporating more veg into our meal deals,” Khera explained. “Lunch deals will now include veg as well as fruit, and we shall make meal deals that include two vegetable options so it’s easy for consumers to buy into that.”

SimplyFresh also promises to make it easier for shoppers to use government public health scheme Healthy Start vouchers to buy free fruit and veg.

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