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Veg Power encourages school caterers to boost vegetable consumption

22nd Oct 2020 - 07:00
Veg Power, the creators of the ‘Eat Them To Defeat Them’ campaign, is calling school caterers to unite with the grocery industry to change children’s perceptions of vegetables.

Currently 94% of five to ten-year-olds and 96% of 11-16-year-olds are eating less than the three to five of the recommended portions of vegetables a day. Veg Power is aiming to encourage every child to eat one more portion of veg every day.

Vegetables are an essential source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Despite being a key part of a healthy diet a third of five to ten-year-olds fail to eat a single portion of vegetables.

Baroness Rosie Boycott, Veg Power chair, said: “As each generation eats fewer vegetables than the one before, our children’s dietary health declines, their weight increases and the long-term outlook for the horticulture industry is worrying.

“Veg Power was set up to see what would happen if we used the brilliant and creative minds of the advertising industry to promote the humble vegetable, and so far through the work of the Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign, more kids are seeing vegetables as fun, and children, their parents, schools and retailers are all reporting a direct increase in sales and consumption. But for this to continue and to secure lasting change, we need reliable core funding to support our work.”

To help reverse this trend Veg Power has launched a whole-sector membership programme that gives those involved a stake in the future of the campaign that will benefit both their business and the health of the nation.

Over 80% of schools said the ‘Eat Them To Defeat Them’ campaign was more popular than any other healthy eating initiative and 92% said they would like the campaign to return next year.

Henry Dimbleby, lead of the National Food Strategy, added: “If we want to improve our health and protect the environment, the one thing we should all be doing is eating more vegetables. Veg Power is by some margin the most creative attempt I have seen anywhere in the world to make this happen.”

The ‘Eat Them To Defeat Them’ TV advert was viewed by over 46 million people and it received support from celebrities including Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as well as Ant & Dec.

Over 400,000 pupils from 1,500 primary schools participated in the supporting schools’ programme with 75% of those schools reporting an increase in vegetable consumption.

Jamie Oliver, chef and healthy eating campaigner, commented: “Anything that empowers kids to eat more veg is a win in my book. Veg Power deserves the support of the whole food system working together.”

Written by
Edward Waddell