Veg Power, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky Media have announced that their multi award-winning Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign is returning to TV screens and primary schools across the UK in mid-February. Now in its sixth year, the campaign, originally launched by ITV and Veg Power and proven to increase children’s vegetable consumption, aims to build on the behaviour change success achieved in previous years. It will launch during the final of ITV’s The Masked Singer.
80% of children in the UK are not eating enough vegetables and worryingly a third of kids are eating less than a portion per day. This major public health issue will not only have a negative impact on many aspects of children’s health, but it has huge ramifications later in life. Research indicates that poor diet in childhood not only disadvantages them as kids but it extends into adulthood, resulting in increased healthcare costs and reduced productivity.
The Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign inspires kids to eat more veg by combining the power of advertising with a highly effective schools’ programme. It brings together a huge alliance including TV advertising, celebrities, supermarkets, chefs, schools, communities and families. Since it launched in 2019, over 1.5 million different children have benefited from the schools’ programme. The campaign has been sponsored by major supermarket and food brands Aldi, Birds Eye, Co-op, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Media agency, Essence, has also secured pro-bono contributions from advertising and media partners, including Mumsnet, Spotify, First News, Delicious and others to extend the reach of the campaign and encourage children to feel more enthusiastic about eating vegetables.
Year on year, the campaign has been successful in engaging children on the topic and encouraging them to give veg a try. More recently, results from the Eat Them to Defeat Them 5-year evaluation confirmed the campaign was having a positive impact on children’s long term vegetable eating habits. 53% of parents with children involved in the schools’ programme more than once reported a long-term benefit, in not only the volume of vegetables consumed but also the variety. Importantly, the schools’ programme is also reaching the most “veg resistant” kids. After last year’s campaign, 66% of parents with kids who participated in the schools’ programme and whose children vocally disliked vegetables, said their child ate more vegetables due to their participation in Eat Them to Defeat Them. Interestingly, the impact of the campaign extends to the whole family with 31% of parents who saw our TV advert last year saying they ate more vegetables as a result.
The 2024 Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign is an alliance between ITV, Channel 4 and Sky Media who have collectively contributed over £18m of advertising to this campaign since it began. This year’s campaign, developed pro bono by adam&eveDDB, will return to TV screens on Saturday 17th February during the final of The Masked Singer on ITV. The schools’ programme, launching on Monday 19th February, is set to reach 637,000 children from 2,370 schools across the UK, including all primary schools in Wales due to funding support from the Welsh Government. Returning to schools with a new creative theme ‘The Big Chomp’, children will be encouraged to defeat the veg one bite at a time with supporting visuals and fun activities. All this extra chewing will have the added bonus of protecting children’s teeth from the bacteria that cause tooth decay, the leading cause of hospital admissions in under 10s and another UK public health issue.