The multi award-winning campaign, which is in its sixth year, will launch during the final of ITV’s The Masked Singer

Over 1.5m schoolchildren have benefitted from the ETTDT campaign

Over 1.5m children have benefitted from the ETTDT schools campaign

Veg Power, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky Media’s multi award-winning 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 17 February.

Some 80 per cent of children in the UK are not eating enough vegetables and one-third of kids are eating less than a portion per day, according to Veg Power. 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, the organisation said. 

”The Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign inspires kids to eat more veg by combining the power of advertising with a highly effective schools’ programme,”Veg Power explained. ”It brings together a huge alliance including TV advertising, celebrities, supermarkets, chefs, schools, communities and families.”

Since it launched in 2019, over 1.5 million children from 4,884 primary and special schools have benefited from the schools’ programme. The campaign has been sponsored by major 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.

Year-on-year, the campaign has been successful in engaging children on the topic and encouraging them to give veg a try. More recently, results from the Eat Them to Defeat Them five-year evaluation confirmed the campaign was having a positive impact on children’s long-term vegetable eating habits. 53 per cent of parents with children involved in the schools’ programme more than once reported a long-term benefit, in not only the volume of vegetables consumed, but also the variety.

The schools’ programme is also reaching the most ’veg resistant’ kids, according to Veg Power. After last year’s campaign, 66 per cent of parents with kids who participated in the schools’ programme and whose children vocally disliked vegetables, said their child ate more vegetables due to their participation in Eat Them to Defeat Them. And the impact of the campaign extends to the whole family with 31 per cent of parents who saw our TV advert last year saying they ate more vegetables as a result.

The 2024 Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign is an alliance between ITV, Channel 4 and Sky Media who have collectively contributed over £18m of advertising to this campaign since it began. This year’s campaign, developed pro bono by adam&eveDDB, will return to TV screens on Saturday 17 February during the final of The Masked Singer on ITV.

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

Commenting on the launch, Dan Parker, chief executive, 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!”