Healthy January stops here as the annual fruit and veg marketing budget runs out. £296.6 million gets spent on confectionary, snacks, fruit, veg and soft drink marketing in the UK each year. But when was the last time you saw a humble carrot ad? That’s because only 5% of that total is allocated to fruit and veg which means by the 19th January the total commercial marketing spend for fruit and veg could be used up.
To highlight the gap in marketing budgets, renowned food campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has joined forces with the Peas Please initiative to get a new Veg Ad Fund off the ground to tempt us into eating our veg.
While restricting junk food advertising is critically important in tackling the nation’s unhealthy eating habits, the shortage of commercial vegetable advertising and its potential influence on our healthy food choices urgently needs addressing.
A dedicated Veg Ad Fund, made up of contributions from the Government, retailers and producers would enable vegetables to receive marketing investment that will see veg advertised compete with branded chocolates, fast food outlets and soft-drinks.
The Peas Please initiative is marking the launch of the campaign for a dedicated Veg Ad Fund by announcing the winner of its vegetable ad competition organised last year. The competition, which asked design agencies and students to design a veg ad for children and young people, received over 60 entries. The winner, designed by agency ifour was chosen by children from Wales, Scotland and England, advertising legend Sir John Hegarty, from Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Michael Moszynksi from LONDON Advertising.
Today, the winning advert will be displayed in over 5,000 locations nationwide, including all Co-op stores, street art located alongside the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, a projection onto the City Chamber in Edinburgh as well as in thousands of primary and secondary school canteens across the UK.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said: “It’s time to shout about how great veg is, and how vital it is for families to buy, cook and eat more of it. But unlike all the junk food and confectionery we are relentlessly sold every day, our delicious vegetables are not “owned” by massive global brands – so they don’t get the marketing and advertising clout they deserve. Having a pooled marketing budget from retailers, producers and government is a brilliant idea – it means we can get top agencies behind the marketing of veg, which will drive up demand and boost consumption.”
Advertising vegetables is important because 92% of teenagers don’t eat enough. Research shows that diets high in fruit and veg protect us against coronary heart disease and cancer.
Anna Taylor, Executive Director of the Food Foundation said: “There is not just one answer to tackle the nation’s diet crisis. We are working with businesses to help make the food environment healthier but advertising plays a vital role. At the moment advertising is skewed towards junk food and we need a more balanced playing field to help support us all, and particularly children, to eat more veg”.
The Peas Please initiative is led by the Food Foundation, WWF, Food Cardiff and Nourish Scotland. This ground-breaking campaign addresses declining levels of veg consumption and aims to bring together farmers, retailers, fast food and restaurant chains, caterers, processors, broadcasters and government departments with a common goal of making it easier for everyone to eat veg.