Advanced Television

Eat Them To Defeat Them returns to TV

February 9, 2024

Veg Power, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky Media have announced that their 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 on February 17th.

Some 80 per cent of children in the UK are not eating enough vegetables and 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 an effective schools’ programme. It brings together an alliance including TV advertising, celebrities, supermarkets, chefs, schools, communities and families. Since it launched in 2019, over 1.5 million different children from 4,884 primary and special schools have benefited from the schools’ programme. The campaign has been sponsored by 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.

The 2024 Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign is an alliance between ITV, Channel 4 and Sky Media who have collectively contributed over £18 million of advertising to this campaign since it began.

The schools’ programme, launching on February 19th, 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.

Dan Parker, Chief Executive at Veg Power, said: “Our evaluation has shown that this campaign is having a much-needed positive impact on children’s diets and we can’t wait for more children and their families to benefit. We know that changing behaviour and dietary health in the UK isn’t going to happen overnight, but we are delighted with the inroads our campaign and others working in this space have achieved. As always a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us this year.”

Susie Braun, Director of Social Purpose at ITV, said: “Eat Them To Defeat Them has continuously proved to be an effective way of encouraging healthier eating habits in children, while making it fun. ITV is proud to have continued this partnership once again.”

Verica Djurdjevic, Chief Revenue Officer at Channel 4, said: “Channel 4 has long championed programming that supports viewers to make informed choices around food, health and wellbeing. It is clear that TV advertising has an equally vital role to play in advancing health issues and inspiring positive choices. We’re delighted that around one third of parents who watched last year’s Eat Them To Defeat Them TV ad report eating more vegetables as a result. We look forward to building on this success in the sixth year of this partnership with ITV, Sky Media and Veg Power.”

Brett Aumuller, Managing Director at Sky Media, added: “Eat Them To Defeat Them is a brilliant example of how creative, multi-channel campaigns can generate conversation, inspire change and make a real difference to people’s lives. We’re thrilled to be part of this collaboration once again and look forward to seeing the campaign return to the nation’s TV screens soon.”

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