Julie Cleijne leek ambassador

Julie Cleijne is the campaign's leek ambassador

One of the fastest risers in this year’s FPJ Big 50 Products, leeks are the subject of a new promotional campaign to highlight the vegetable’s health benefits and offer tips on reducing food waste.

The campaign, organised by theBritish Leek Growers’ Association in collaboration with Sustainable Kitchen Consultants, has been launched ahead of the 2020-21 season and will run from November to April. It is backed bysix UK leek growers and four seed companies.

Based around the theme of ‘Resourceful Recipes: Getting the most from your food’,the promotion offers consumers tips on how to minimise waste and eat the entire leek.

The vegetable’s nutritional benefits are highlighted, with a focus on their inulin content and prebiotic qualities, as are the environmental benefits of eating a seasonal British vegetable.

The campaign follows strong sales growth in the leek category, which profited from the lockdown rise in scratch cooking to post double-digit rises in both value and volume earlier this year.

Stewart Aspinall, chairman of the British Leek Growers’ Association, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has made us all more aware of our health, while many consumers are starting to feel the pinch as the recession begins to bite.

“This initiative aims to highlight the health benefits associated with eating leeks, while demonstrating how consumers can produce cost-effective, easy-to-prepare and tasty meals with leeks at their heart.”

For the first time this year, the association is working with a dedicated ‘leek ambassador’ in Julie Cleijne, chief executive of Sustainable Kitchen Consultants.

Cleijne is a naturopathic chef (ahealth practitioner that applies natural therapies) who works with foodservice, brands and retail to help them be more sustainable and profitable.

The chef advises on sustainable practices and creates healthy, seasonal recipes, with nutrition as the main focus. She will be helping to promote leeks to consumer and foodservice audiences.

The campaign will target national and regional consumer and news publications, as well as broadcast and social media.

Seasonal, leek-based recipes will be added to this year’s press pack, which includes fact sheets, preparation and cookery tips, and grower profiles.

In addition, the British leeks’ website is being revamped and will include details of the season, tips on preparing and cooking leeks, new recipes, local grower contacts, and photography.

Commenting on the campaign, Cleijne said: “British leeks are one of Britain’s most nutritious and yet under-used and under-appreciated vegetables.Mother nature provides us with leeks for nine months of the year, so she’s surely trying to tell us that we need to be eating them more often.”

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