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ITV veg ads ‘will inspire, not focus on health’

Veg Power TV adverts will move away from health message and aim to make children excited to eat fresh produce, says Food Foundation's Joe Ralling

ITV veg ads ‘will inspire, not focus on health’

Jo Ralling at FPJ Live 2018

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The Food Foundation has said it will focus on inspiring young people to eat more fruit and veg rather than persevering with the health message of past campaigns following the news that ITV is donating £2 million of airtime for fresh produce advertising.

The national TV ad campaign, which is being run in association with the Veg Power initiative, will be launched in January 2019, featuring primetime adverts alongside some of ITV’s big entertainment and drama shows.

“Yesterday, after negotiating with ITV for the last few months, we announced what I think is an extraordinary and unprecedented deal,” the Food Foundation’s head of communications, Joe Ralling, announced to applause at FPJ Live in Coventry.

Commenting on the likely nature of the adverts, she added: “It’s about inspiring kids to love veg, not a health message. I’m not sure the health message really works – people know that veg is healthy for you. 

“We’re going to do something that’s bold and brave and colourful and will make kids feel excited about eating veg. We want to do something that’s different and that people will remember – we want that water cooler moment.” 

As well as ITV, the Food Foundation has received backing from leading advertising agency Adam & Eve/DDB and PR agency Taylor Herring, both of which have offered their services for free.

Additional funding will come from major UK retailers, with six on board so far: Iceland, Waitrose, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s. Each will contribute £50,000, and the Food Foundation is confident that more large supermarket chains will lend their backing.

“What I’m really excited about is that they will replicate the campaigns or whatever the create idea is in the stores,” Ralling said. “The idea is that somebody will see the ad on TV, be with their kids and then when they go into store they will see the same creative idea.”

She added that ITV had been an “amazing partner” so far. “I think they genuinely want to do the right thing,” she said. “The people I’m dealing with are all parents – they recognise that there’s a massive crisis and they want to actually do something.”

With over 98 per cent of food advertising budgets spent on promoting unhealthy products, according to the Food Foundation, a national TV advertising campaign for fruit and veg is a major breakthrough for the industry.

The Veg Power fund was set up by chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to combat the increase in diet-related illnesses in the UK, with 95 per cent of teenagers and 80 per cent of younger children not eating enough vegetables, according to the campaign. 

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