Adults and children in the UK are falling well short of eating the recommended amount of vegetables each day. A new report by the Food Foundation found diets low in vegetables and legumes are associated with almost 18,000 premature deaths a year in the country. It discovered that 29% of children aged 5–10 years old eat less than one portion of veg a day, while just 6% of children aged 11–16 years old are currently meeting the government’s Eatwell Guide recommendation for eating around 3.5 portions of vegetables a day. Adults only fare marginally better, with 77% eating less than the recommended amount of daily vegetables.
The Food Foundation is attempting to drive up vegetable consumption through its Peas Please campaign which now has more than 100 organizations committed to serving or promoting more vegetables.
The Veg Facts 2021 report identified a trend for a significant proportion of vegetable consumption to come from foods classified as ultra-processed. A fifth (20%) of children’s vegetable intake now comes from these types of foods, which are increasingly being linked with serious illness, with pizza and baked beans accounting for 16% of children’s vegetable intake.