Campaign calls for dedicated advertising fund to improve the appeal of vegetables

Nourish Scotland Press Release

Embargoed until 00.01 Thursday 18 January 2018


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. That 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.  This initiative is also supported by Edinburgh’s City Council leader Adam McVey and is backed by Food Standard Scotland.

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.

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.

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-drink firms.

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.”

Today, the Edinburgh Royal Mile skyline will have a special look, as Edinburgh City Council have allowed Peas Please to project the veg ad onto the Princes Street-facing side of the City Chambers today after sunset. The winning advert will also be displayed in over 5,000 other locations across the UK including another projection onto Cardiff City Hall, in Co-Op stores nationwide, park notice boards across Glasgow, advertisement spaces in Dundee City Centre, a co-op in the Outer Herbrides, and many more local communities and thousands of primary and secondary school canteens across the UK.

Advertising vegetables is important because Scots are struggling to get their 5-A-Day.

Food Standards Scotland’s Head of Public Health Nutrition, Heather Peace, said: “We’re happy to help fund the Peas Please initiative in Scotland which is designed to encourage us all to eat more vegetables. This is especially important as we only average around three portions of fruit and veg each day in Scotland, when we should be eating at least five.”

Low vegetable diets are related to 20,000 premature deaths: research shows that diets high in fruit and veg protect us against coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Pete Ritchie, Executive Director of Nourish Scotland said: “Advertising works. There is not just one answer to tackle the nation’s diet crisis, but addressing the bias of advertising must be part of the solution. The sector needs to put more money and creativity into selling veg.  Putting a proper advertising fund in place will boost consumption, improve health and help producers

The Peas Please initiative is led by the Food Foundation, Nourish Scotland, WWF, and Food Cardiff.   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.

The veg advertising competition run for 2 months from August to October 2017. We asked design agencies and students to design a veg ad for children and young people, and received over 60 entries.  The winner was chosen by a panel of children alongside advertising legend Sir John Hegarty, from Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Michael Moszynksi from LONDON Advertising, and announced at three Vegetables Summits in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh on 24th October.



Contact details

Celia Nyssens, Policy Officer

0131 226 1497


Notes for editors

For more information on the Peas Please initiative, visit:

Peas Please partners on Twitter @nourishscotland @Food_Foundation @fairfoodcardiff

Poster designers: @ifourdesign

We will be using the hashtag #VegPower and #PeasPlease to raise awareness of the campaign.