Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launches Peas Please initiative to create Veg Ad Fund

The Peas Please initiative, led by the Food Foundation, WWF, Food Cardiff and Nourish Scotland, has launched a ground-breaking campaign to supercharge the marketing of fruit and vegetables through the creation of a Veg Ad Fund, made up of contributions from the Government, retailers and producers.

Of the estimated £296.6 million spent on confectionary, snacks, fruit, veg and soft drink marketing in the UK each year only 5% of that total is allocated to fruit and veg. To address this gap in marketing budgets, the Peas Please initiative is proposing a new Veg Ad Fund that enables vegetables to receive similar levels of marketing investment as branded chocolates, fast food outlets and soft-drinks.

The Peas Please initiative also marked the launch by announcing the winner of its recent vegetable ad competition, co-sponsored by Co-op. The winner, designed by agency ifour and subsequently supported by its own website, 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 till screens in all Co-op stores, street art located alongside the Principality Stadium in Cardiff and a projection onto the City Chamber in Edinburgh, as well as in thousands of primary and secondary school canteens across the UK.

TV chef and presenter, 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.”

It is estimated that 92% of teenagers don’t eat enough fruit and veg. 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”.

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