Veg Power and ITV’s Eat Them To Defeat Them: Back For Its Fifth Year

  • Campaign proven to get kids eating veg returns to screens and in 41 schools in Oxfordshire
  • 2023 campaign will give parents the confidence to keep vegetables in their shopping baskets as veg sales decrease due to cost-of-living crisis

Veg Power, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, was founded by the Food Foundation, Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall, Sir John Hegarty and Baroness Boycott to turn around vegetable consumption in the UK.  It uses advertising and communications to inspire kids to eat vegetables and create life-long good food habits that they will, in turn, share with their children.

Veg Power’s latest campaign ‘Simply Veg’, developed in response to the cost-of-living crisis and decreasing vegetable sales. Simply Veg offers simple, easy ideas from an impressive panel of experts to help reduce the impact on families’ budgets, encourage veg acceptance by children and decrease the amount of food waste.

Veg Power and ITV announced today that their multi-award winning Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign, proven to get kids eating veg, has returned for its fifth consecutive year with 2,350 primary and special schools across the UK including 41 schools in Oxfordshire, set to benefit.

With 80% of children not consuming enough vegetables, the Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign inspires kids to eat more veg by combining the power of advertising with a schools’ programme. It brings together a huge alliance including TV advertising, celebrities, supermarkets, chefs, schools, communities and families.

In addition, with recent research confirming veg sales have decreased across the country due to the cost-of-living crisis, this year’s campaign aims to play a role in keeping vegetables in shopping baskets by giving parents the confidence they will not end up in the bin.

As part of the campaign, schools will be provided with meal themes and recipes that create a fun narrative for children, turning popular school fare such as roasts, cottage pie and pasta bake into mini-adventures. The kids become the heroes as they defeat the vegetables by eating them.

In addition to the recipes, schools will be provided with displays and stickers, designed to create events to promote uptake of school meals and the veg within them. Teaching staff will also receive curriculum-compliant lesson plans to create excitement about the meal themes and support classroom learning about food, culture and geography.

More than half the parents in schools participating in Eat Them to Defeat Them last year said their children ate more vegetables as a direct result of the campaign. Since it launched in 2019, the campaign has directly generated an additional £132m in vegetables sales, equivalent to 1.4bn children’s veg portions. The campaign was recognised last year with the prestigious Institute of Practitioners in Advertising President’s Award for Behaviour Change.

The 2023 Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign is an alliance between ITV, Channel 4 and Sky Media who have collectively contributed over £15m of advertising to this campaign since it began. This year’s campaign, developed by adam&eveDDB who work on the campaign pro bono, returned to TV screens during The Masked Singer on ITV.

The schools’ programme involving 700,000 kids across the UK launched on Monday 20th February and will run until 8th April. The campaign has been funded by major supermarket and food brands Aldi, Co-op, Dole, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.

Media agency Essence has also secured pro-bono contributions from advertising and media partners, including Acast, Spotify, Mail Online, Yahoo, First News, LadBible, Mail Metro Media, Ocean Outdoor, Clear Channel, JCDecaux  and others in a huge drive to encourage children to feel more enthusiastic about eating vegetables.

Dan Parker, Chief Executive, Veg Power said, “Parents tell us they are more concerned than ever about their finances and so rejected vegetables really worry them – they simply cannot afford to risk them going to waste. Each year Eat Them to Defeat Them turns millions of children into champions for vegetables, pestering their parents to serve them. This enthusiasm is particularly important this year as it will give parents the confidence to keep vegetables in their shopping baskets.”

Susie Braun, Director of Social Purpose at ITV, said: “Eat Them to Defeat Them has been proven again and again to get children not just eating vegetables but getting excited about them too. And that’s never been more important. We’re delighted to continue ITV and Veg Power’s partnership through this vital campaign.”