Veg Power and ITV have announced 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 recent research confirming veg sales have decreased during the cost-of-living crisis, this year’s Eat Them To Defeat Them aims to play a role in supporting families to keep veg in their shopping baskets.
Vegetable item sales decreased by 9% from 2021 to 20221 while YouGov research shows 28% of people on lower incomes (combined household income of £30,000 or less) stated worries about high energy costs led them to cook less vegetables. 26% of all audiences stated they bought fewer fresh vegetables because of the increase in the price of their groceries, increasing to 49% in lower income families. Children’s veg consumption in the UK is considerably below government recommendations with 80% not eating enough vegetables and a third eating less than a portion per day.
This year’s campaign aims to give parents confidence that vegetables they buy for their families will not end up in the bin.
More than half the parents in schools participating in Eat Them to Defeat Them say their children eat 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, will return to TV screens on Saturday 11th February during The Masked Singer on ITV. The schools’ programme involving 700,000 kids across the UK will follow soon after – launching on Monday 20th February and running until 8th April. The campaign has been funded by major supermarket and food brands Aldi, Co-op, Dole, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
This year’s schools’ programme will feature a new theme ‘Taking Over The World’ involving 10 meal themes and recommended recipes for each. Each meal theme creates a fun narrative for the children turning popular school fare such as roasts, cottage pie and pasta bake into mini-adventures. As in previous years, the kids become the heroes as they defeat the vegetables by eating them.
In addition to the recipes, catering teams 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.
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.”