Very few campaigns aimed at increasing consumption of fresh produce in any nation have really worked, despite the myriad efforts of action groups and government agencies.
However, one in the UK focused on helping children – Eat Them to Defeat Them – has garnered immense interest from consumers, who have increased vegetable purchases by £132 million in its four years of running. This past year alone saw £34.1 million in direct sales, according to new data IRI Worldwide and Pearl Metrics and released by Veg Power and ITV.
It takes a village to make any initiative successful, and two partners have certainly leveraged a transformative two-pronged approach – heavy promotion of families making healthier food choices while leaning on a cachet of celebrities and influencers.
“These latest results are outstanding and demonstrate not only the effectiveness of the campaign but also the strength of the enduring partnerships on which this campaign has been built,” Dan Parker, Chief Executive of Veg Power, said. “Veg Power and ITV’s campaign brings together a wide range of organisations including media companies, the advertising industry and grocers together with a huge community of schools and caterers working to support families to raise healthier children.”
The campaign from Veg Power and ITV has been led by its uniquely brash television commercial and social media ads that show kids fighting with and then eating up rogue vegetables. With robust support from supermarkets – Aldi, ASDA, Coop, Dole, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose – and stations Sky, Channel 4 and STV, they have been able to affect change like no other healthy eating mission.
In fact, in the 3,850 schools that have participated in embracing Eat Them to Defeat Them, 77% report an increase in vegetable consumption. School caterers also report 20% lower waste in food being thrown away. In those schools, the combination of the campaign’s messaging itself along with veg tasting sessions, teaching aids, games and rewards have led to the sea shift.
“Eat Them to Defeat Them’s continuing success is something every partner involved in the campaign should be very proud of,” said Susie Braun, Director of Social Purpose, ITV. “The results show the same thing year after year: this initiative succeeds in getting more vegetables into shopping baskets and children’s tummies – as much as 1.4 billion portions. Every parent wants their child to eat more vegetables so that’s 1.4 billion reasons to celebrate.”
The campaign will resume in February 2023.