- Created with the UK’s leading nutrition, child psychology, neurodiversity, food education, culinary and children’s entertainment experts
- Unique and holistic approach developed by team that has proven success at increasing UK children’s veg consumption
- New Veg Power research confirms the pivotal role of parental role modelling in increasing children’s veg consumption
Simply Veg is the first campaign to bring together an alliance of the top nutritionists and chefs with psychologists and children’s entertainers to combine their skills to improve UK families’ diets. The campaign offers a unique and holistic approach that moves beyond traditional public health nutrition education to helping parents with the real challenges they face everyday – whilst making it fun for kids.
The UK’s current eating habits are in desperate need of improvement. Four out of five of the top risk factors for death and disability in the UK are now diet related1. The impact of poor diets is placing immense strain on our healthcare system and reducing our workforce’s productivity. Poor diet often starts in childhood and stays for life – 80% of UK kids aren’t eating enough vegetables with almost a third (29%) of primary school aged kids eating less than one portion of veg a day.2 While Veg Power’s award-winning Eat Them to Defeat Them campaign, in partnership with ITV, has successfully encouraged children to give veg a try, more support for parents/carers is critical. Veg Power’s latest research shows that parents who eat more veg and create a positive food culture in their home are nearly twice as likely to have children who eat more veg, try new veg and see vegetables as fun – this runs equally true across all household income brackets.3
Veg Power’s six years of experience and unparalleled insight identified that families are struggling with different aspects of feeding their kids. To ensure Simply Veg is relevant to all families, regardless of their veg eating struggles, a diverse panel of experts were brought together. By offering a unique and holistic approach to improving families’ diets, the campaign moves beyond traditional public health campaigns and focuses on the wider issues. These include creating a positive food environment within the home, how to gently engage kids, understanding your children’s natural taste and sensory preferences, effective role modelling and what to do when your kids just say “no”. In addition, advice aimed specifically at families with neurodiverse children has been included, developed with support from a specialist dietitian.
Commenting on the launch of Simply Veg, Dan Parker, Chief Executive, Veg Power, said, “For the first time, UK families have a public health campaign that recognises there are many potential issues that can impact on a family’s ability to eat healthily. Through our work over the last six years we have gained a deep understanding of the complexities of feeding a family and have developed this campaign so that it caters for all, no matter what their particular struggle may be. We have to recognise that feeding a family is hard work with parents facing many challenges including the cost of food and a fear of rejection and waste particularly when trying something new. We have rallied an outstanding group with a diverse range of expertise working together to create solutions squarely founded in the best science, deeply sympathetic to people’s lives and full of the joy of family, fun and food. We are confident that our approach will make the good choices, the exciting choices making a much needed and important contribution to improving our nation’s diet and ultimately, our nation’s health.”
Dr Laura Wyness, Registered Nutritionist and member of the expert panel said: “The evidence is clear, within the UK our diets are having a huge impact on our health, healthcare system and productivity. We desperately need to improve the current situation and support families to feed their children so that it creates life-long healthy eating habits. Bringing together a diverse range of experts to tackle this issue in an innovative way is an exciting and important step towards making a real difference.”
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, one of Veg Power’s founders and special advisers said: “If traditional public health campaigns are not having the impact necessary to help change the current eating habits in this country, we need to rethink our approach. Simply Veg recognises that feeding a family is hard work, with parents facing many challenges including the cost of food and a fear of rejection and waste, particularly when trying out new foods at home. Veg Power has been looking at the many aspects of feeding a family in a healthy way, helping to support parental role modelling and developing positive food cultures within the home. I believe that through this powerful work our team has created a brilliant campaign that can offer help and hope to millions of families in the UK.”
As part of Simply Veg, a comprehensive manual ‘How to Get Your Kids to Eat More Veg – A Simple Guide to a Tricky Task’ has been developed with more in depth content including videos and fun activities including engaging content from Shaun the Sheep and the creative genius of Aardman, available on the www.simplyveg.org.uk website. The manual is currently being piloted with 3,000 families in the London Borough of Lambeth.
- Afshin A. et. al. (2019) Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017.’ The Lancet, vol 393. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30041-8.
- National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling programme Years 9 to 11 (2016/2017 to 2018/2019). Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/ndns-results-from-years-9-to-11-2016-to-2017-and-2018-to-2019
- Veg Power (2024). Market Insight Report Edition 5 – ‘The Importance of Role Modelling’.
Note to Editors
Key image available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1VVj2Bmvl7IijUKkV5_ErihSz6j7iEs6f?usp=sharing
Supporting feature: Veg Power’s registered nutritionist Rebecca Stevens ANutr. simple tips for parents to get your kids to eat more veg available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1VVj2Bmvl7IijUKkV5_ErihSz6j7iEs6f?usp=sharing
Available for interview: Dan Parker, Chief Executive, Veg Power + other Simply Veg contributors may be available on request.
About Veg Power & Simply Veg
Veg Power, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, was founded by the Food Foundation, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Sir John Hegarty and Baroness Boycott to turn around vegetable consumption in the UK. It runs creative initiatives to engage, inspire and motivate people to eat more veg and create life-long good food habits. To change children’s perceptions of veg, Veg Power runs the award-winning Eat Them to Defeat Them campaign. Since the campaign debuted in January 2019, it has led to sales of nearly 1.4 billion additional children’s portions of vegetables worth £132m. The schools’ programme has reached 1.5million children from 5,000 primary schools and in children who have been exposed to the programme multiple times, 53% reported it had made a long term and lasting improvement to both the variety and volume of vegetables their child consumes.
Simply Veg supports all parents and carers to get more veg into their kids by providing advice and simple ideas to encourage veg acceptance, reducing waste and its impact on families’ budgets. It was created with support from: nutritionists Dr Laura Wyness RNutr, Dr Glenys Jones RNutr, Charlotte Radcliffe RNutr, Zoe Griffiths RNutr, Jenny Rosborough RNtr and dietitian Priya Tew, food writer Bee Wilson, sensory education specialist Kim Smith from TastEd, Geneticist & President of the British Dietetic Association – Professor Giles Yeo MBE, children’s food psychologist Dr Clare Holley, neurodiversity dietitian David Rex RD, former BBC Blue Peter gardener – Chris Collins, children’s TV presenter – Stefan Gates and chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver, Bettina Campolucci Bordi, Tom Hunt and The Batch Lady Suzanne Mulholland.
Veg Power is funded by Abbey View Produce, Barfoots, Bayer Crop Science, Coop Foods, Dole, EVG Europe, Fresca, Greenyard, Gs, Hazera Seeds UK, Monaghan Mushrooms, Ocado, Produce World, Riviera Produce, SAKATA, Sainsbury’s, Staples, Tesco, Waitrose and Westfalia Fruit Group.
Social media: @VegPowerUK #SimplyVeg