That is the name of the latest campaign being launched by the group responsible for putting vegetables front and centre on the minds of young children. It is catchy, though a bit different from the energetic, brash “Eat Them to Defeat Them” which has helped drive home hard messages on health to kids.
This pitch is less about splash and more about taking a holistic approach to get both youngsters and caregivers to consume more fresh produce. Veg Power has formed “an alliance of the top nutritionists and chefs with psychologists and children’s entertainers to combine their skills to improve UK diets.”
Dan Parker, the CEO of Veg Power, talked about what it’s going to take to overcome barriers that prevent the embrace of more healthful food options and have led to this sobering statistic: 80% of UK children do not eat nearly enough veg in their diets.
“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,” Parker said of the launch of Simply Veg. “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.
“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.”
Along with partners, they recognized that they needed a campaign that “focuses on the wider issues.” Simply Veg will help parents take a much more serene approach to eating healthy – building a positive environment around food while gently working with their children to embrace their “natural taste and sensory preferences.” There will be further guidance to assist parents with stubborn kids or those who are neurodiverse through the help of dietitians.
The main goal of the campaign is really to reach parents and caregivers first and have them redevelop healthy habits that they can then pass along to young children. The fact that only a third of primary school kids children are eating less than one serving of fresh produce per day – not five – is startling and cause for change.
“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,” said Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, one of Veg Power’s founders and special advisers. “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.”
Those interested in finding out more about this initiative – including the comprehensive manual “How to Get Your Kids to Eat More Veg – A Simple Guide to a Tricky Task” – can go to www.simplyveg.org.uk.