Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall backs The Food Foundation’s Veg Summit advertising challenge

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall will chair the panel of competition judges.

Celebrity chef and food writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has backed The Food Foundation’s Veg Summit advertising competition, joining the judging panel as chairman.

The competition challenges creative agencies and design students to submit poster ideas encouraging children aged 5-11 to eat more vegetables.

Fearnley-Whittingstall, star of Channel 4’s long-running River Cottage series, will feature the competition and the winning poster in an upcoming BBC documentary series focusing on the obesity crisis among children in the UK. The winning entry will also feature in The Drum and be displayed in advertising spots across the UK and by a major UK retailer.

Fearnley-Whittingstall said: "I'm delighted to be a part of the Food Foundation's Veg Summit and really looking forward to seeing the competition entries. It's absolutely vital that children have a healthy and positive relationship with vegetables, and food advertising should be playing a role in that."

Following the competition closing date (12 October) legendary advertising executive Sir John Hegarty, co-founder founder of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, will whittle down the entries to a shortlist of five and join the judging panel at the Food Foundation Vegetable Summit later that month to pick a winner. He’ll be joined on the panel by Michael Moszynski, co-founder of London Advertising, and a group of children to provide their unique perspective on the submissions.

Hegarty said: “'Eating well is about living well. Who wouldn't want to do that?'”

Moszynski added: “The advertising and food industries want to avert high-handed government regulation on packaging, taxation and ingredients to tackle the obesity crisis. So here is your opportunity to show that positive action to get kids to eat more veg by creating an ad is a better way to tackle the issue.”

In 2014 the UK food industry spent over £250 million promoting “unhealthy” foods for purchase in retail settings (Public Health England 2015) but currently, only 1.2% of food and soft drink advertising goes on veg.

A recent report by the Food Foundation revealed that 95.5% of kids leaving primary school don’t eat enough veg, and parents of primary school children report that 13% of them eat less than a portion a day. Children’s recognition of logos and marketing relating to fast food brands forms at an early age and popular children’s characters are regularly used to sell fast food.

The competition is part of the Food Foundation’s Peas Please campaign, a new initiative addressing declining levels of vegetable consumption. It aims to bring together farmers, retailers, fast food and restaurant chains, caterers, processors and government departments with a common goal of making it easier for everyone to eat healthier.

The Vegetable Summit will take place in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh on October 24. Anyone interested in entering the poster competition can find out more here.

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Michael Feeley

Michael Feeley is The Drum Network's consultant journalist, advising and assisting member agencies on their editorial submissions and contributions to The Drum.

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