How ‘Eat Like a Champ’ Inspires Kids to Live Healthily

03.09.2020 news

At UNGA, we create inspiring loyalty campaigns that are a massive hit with families. We design collectible toys and other playful products specifically tailored for children and family moments, which are successful not only because they are fun to collect and play with, but also because they are educational. This is exactly the case with our ‘Eat Like a Champ’ concept.


Eat Like a Champ: A loyalty campaign by UNGA

‘Eat Like a Champ’ is a loyalty campaign developed by UNGA as part of our own IP portfolio. It consists of a collection of stickers combining images of famous sports heroes with healthy recipes. The stickers can be collected for free by shoppers who spend a certain minimum amount on groceries at certain retailers.


In August 2020, Carrefour France launched their ‘Eat Like a Champ’ campaign, locally known as ‘Mange Comme Un Champion’. In total, there are 105 stickers to collect; Carrefour’s customers receive a sticker booklet for free with every €30 they spend on groceries.

Additionally, French shoppers can buy a beautiful collector’s album for €2.90 to store all their stickers in and discover more about the champions and their favorite healthy recipes.

We created this campaign because we strongly believe that children should be stimulated to lead healthier lifestyles, and sports heroes are the perfect ambassadors to bring this message to them. Through this fun campaign, children are inspired by their heroes to acquire new knowledge, skills, and habits regarding healthy food. When this happens, chances are high that they will embrace the message, which will stick with them.

Let’s dive into more insights on UNGA’s ‘Eat Like a Champ’ campaign.


Why it is important to stimulate children to lead more healthy lifestyles

Childhood obesity has become a serious, increasing problem over the years. Currently, on average, 30% of all children in European countries are either overweight or obese, which is leading to serious short- and long-term problems. Overweight and obese children are more likely to stay obese as they enter adulthood, and it is estimated that at least 2.6 million people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese (Source: WHO).

Childhood obesity affects children’s lives in various negative ways, both physically and psychologically.

  • Physically, it often leads to symptoms such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. It can also increase the risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, it can create breathing problems, such as asthma and sleep apnea.
  • Psychologically, it often has a negative impact on children’s social lives, their emotional well-being, and their self-esteem. It is even associated with poor academic performance and a lower quality of life.

Environmental factors, lifestyle preferences, and cultural environment play pivotal roles in the increasing prevalence of obesity worldwide. In general, overweight and obesity are assumed to be the results of an increase in calorie and fat intake. There is also supporting evidence that excessive sugar intake through soft drinks, increased portion size, and a steady decline in physical activity have a significant impact (Source: Childhood obesity: Causes and consequences—NCBI).

Parents and caretakers can play an essential role in preventing childhood obesity. They can do this by providing healthy meals and snacks, by encouraging daily physical activity, and educating their children about proper nutrition. Healthy meals and snacks provide nutrition for growing bodies while modeling healthy eating behaviors and attitudes.

However, parents and caretakers need support in their efforts to prevent childhood obesity. Retailers who offer consumers primary access to fresh food and ingredients and want to do more for their community can pitch in as part of their commitment to families.


Teaching children how to cook to introduce them to healthy eating

Teaching children how to cook is one of the best things you can do for them (Source: Child Development Institute). It’s a basic life skill, after all, to be comfortable enough in the kitchen to combine a few ingredients into a simple meal. It also has a very significant impact on their health. On top of that, it’s a source of pride as you enable them to take care of themselves and their friends and siblings.

Cooking is a great way to talk about health. Experts say that the single most important thing you can do for your health is to cook at home. Inviting children into the kitchen and involving them in meal preparation from a very young age fosters a habit that will have lifelong benefits. It also gives parents an opportunity to discuss with a 3-year-old how fish (fatty acids) can help make you smart and how “eating a rainbow” ensures that you consume a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.

Children who learn how to cook meals from scratch know what kind of ingredients are present or absent in them. When parents flip over packages in the grocery store, they’ll understand why and happily join in.

Children who cook become children who taste, and sometimes eat. Involving children in the process of cooking greatly increases the chance that they’ll actually try the finished dish. They may or may not discover a new favorite, but cultivating a welcoming and open-minded approach to food can nurture adults who approach life similarly—arms and mouth wide open to new tastes, cultures, and attitudes.


Getting sports heroes on board: The perfect ambassadors to inspire children

Although it is very important that parents enable their children to cook and educate them about the importance of healthy food, it doesn’t hurt (at all!) when children hear this message more often and in multiple ways. In fact, message repetition enables more argument scrutiny. If the argument is strong, repetition leads to more change in attitude. For example, in marketing research, advertising leads to a favorable brand attitude as long as the arguments are strong and tedium is not induced (Source: Elaboration Likelihood Model in Consumer Research: A Review—Nai-hwa Lien).

So, when children’s sports heroes are spreading the same important message and inspiration as their parents, the message is even more likely to come across.


This is especially because kids adore their sports heroes. They look up to them and often want to become just like them when they grow up. When a sports hero who has to be on top of his game every day talks about the importance of healthy food, children find his message highly credible. And credibility has actually been found to be the most significant factor in determining the effectiveness of (social media) influencers, followed by other factors such as attractiveness, trustworthiness, expertise, and similarity (Source: What factors determine the effectiveness of social media influencers in promoting a brand or product?—Wageningen University & Research).


The popularity of sports heroes among kids starts at an early age and has a lot to do with the fact that children just love winners. Research from America shows that if a baseball team wins the World Series when a child is 8, they are 8% more likely to become an adult supporter of that team than any other, irrespective of where they live and who their family supports. When a child’s hero wins, it increases their self-worth and self-esteem. The age of 8 is no coincidence either—this is the time when children begin the process of locking down their preferences. It also interestingly coincides with the emergence of the concrete operational stage of cognitive development, when things start to get real and the transition from childhood to adolescence slowly begins (Source: Fandom report—Kids Industries).

Children, especially boys, really adore athletes. In the UK (and in many other countries), football or soccer players are the most popular type of athletes, with Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on top of the list (Source: Licensing Association, April 2020).

It is no coincidence that these two soccer heroes are widely considered the best and most influential players of their generation and of all time. They are two of the most decorated football players ever, having won a combined 66 trophies (Ronaldo: 32, Messi: 34) during their careers and having regularly broken the 50-goal barrier in a single season. On top of that, they have also won a combined 11 Ballon d’Or awards (Ronaldo: 5, Messi: 6) (Source: Wikipedia). Their popularity is evident on social media, where they have a huge audience of followers (Ronaldo: 238 million, Messi: 165 million in August 2020).

The popularity of sports heroes, along with their credibility, makes them the perfect ambassadors to motivate children to ‘Eat like a Champ’—just like them! Retailers who include this campaign in their marketing strategy can really grasp the opportunity to connect with and bring value to their customers—especially families.

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