A new crowdfund has been set up to create a marketing board for vegetables.
Veg Power – which already has the support of celebrity chefs, medical experts, food producers and teachers – aims to bring down the statistic that 80% of children and 95% of teenagers do not eat enough vegetables. In fact, children are eating so little veg that 17% of the veg they do eat comes from pizza toppings and baked beans.
According to the Children’s Food Trust’s State of the Nation report, just 30% of children’s packed lunches include fresh vegetables and 86% of children are reported by parents to pester them for junk food.
Much of this pestering is the result of junk food advertising and figures from the Food Foundation show that just 1.2% of food and soft drink advertising spending goes on vegetables.
Supporters of the campaign include the Food Foundation’s Anna Taylor, chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Dr Rangan Chatterjee and advertising legend Sir John Hegarty.
With funding raised for Veg Power, organisers promise more campaigns to inspire children to love veg, as well as new ways to empower parents. Through the success of these approaches, they will then make the case to government, supermarkets and the farming community to provide the funds needed to send Veg Power into every home.
It is hoped that the long-term goal for Veg Power is for it to be sustainably funded by government and the food industry and that by investing in promoting vegetables it will change children’s attitudes and offer health benefits, reducing the cost of treating diet-related disease on the NHS.
Evidence shows that such a fund could work. Since British Summer Fruits launched its PR campaign in 2002 the annual sale of berries has risen from £370m to £1.26bn.
The next project will be a book of Veg Power, containing fun children’s activities, veg facts, tips and child-friendly veg-centred recipes from over 50 contributors.
It comes after Peas Please launched a competition to create a poster for vegetables, which was supported by celebrities, politicians and schoolchildren on social media and secured over 5,000 sites for the posters.
To donate to the crowdfund, visit crowdfunder.co.uk/vegpower.