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2020: THE YEAR THAT NO ONE SAW COMING 

Our third Peas Please report shows a steady increase of 72.1 million additional portions of vegetables sold across the UK between July 2019 and June 2020 as a result of the concerted efforts of Peas Please pledgers, taking our cumulative total to 162 million additional portions of veg served or sold over the past three years.

Yet although this is an impressive achievement, the rate at which we are increasing our cumulative portion total has slowed.  2019’s progress report saw our annual portion total increase from 4.8 million in year one of Peas Please to 89.9 million additional portions of veg in year two, an increase of 85.1 million portions of veg. This year we’ve added 72.1 million portions of veg to our cumulative total – a move in the right direction but a smaller increase than the year before.

This is perhaps no surprise given the turmoil COVID-19 has caused this year to society in general and the food sector in particular. The impact of  social distancing measures from March 2020 onwards set in motion a chain of events that have seen some organisations benefit, while many others have been stymied by new COVID-19 restrictions. While many retailers have seen a significant uplift in grocery sales, the Out of Home sector has been significantly impacted by restaurant, school and workplace closures, with social distancing measures profoundly affecting many of our pledgers. 

It is therefore deeply concerning that data from Kantar also shows a slowing of progress in the retail sector, with the percentage share of UK grocery retail sales that are veg down 0.1% on last year – despite the large increase in overall sales volumes for food and drink in the retail sector following the closure of the Out of Home sector in March.

We are incredibly grateful for the support our pledgers have continued to provide, with this report setting out the specific actions and activities  organisations are taking to make it easier for everyone in the UK to eat their veg. Where they were able to, our participating organisations have reported back to us on their progress for the 2019/20 reporting year, and the results are broadly encouraging in spite of this year’s challenges. Of note are the increasing numbers of pledgers having already achieved all their original goals set in 2017/18.

As such we are currently working to revise and refresh commitments to ensure that Peas Please continues to make a difference.

Download full report.