Congratulations to the Food Standards Agency for winning Campaign of the Month

Monday 26 November 2018

FSA ran the ‘Easy to ASK’ food allergy campaign to address the fear of eating out among young adults, by empowering them to Ask about allergens, Speak up and Keep safe.

#easytoask Campaign Poster


There has been a recent trend of allergy-related deaths among young adults (16-24). Data shows they are disproportionately more susceptible to allergen incidents, while insight suggests they are reluctant to talk about their food allergy. They also take risks when eating socially, because they are disinclined to behave differently to their friends. FSA’s campaign aimed to raise awareness of the provisions of allergen information (required by law), and to help young adults be more confident about asking for this information when eating out. FSA also wanted to encourage food businesses to make it easier for young people to ask for allergen information.


  • To raise awareness among young people (16-24) of their rights, when it comes to the provision of allergen information when eating out;
  • to give young people the confidence to ask food businesses for the information they need when eating out or ordering food online/over the phone;
  • to make young people comfortable about telling their social circle about their condition so friends can understand their needs and support them’
  • to remind food businesses of the need to provide accurate allergen info, to ensure compliance and the safe provision of food; and
  • to impact on measurable statistics, collated in pre-campaign research, with post campaign research to evaluate the receptiveness of our messages


  • Young people (16-24) with food allergies or intolerances, in particular those living away from home for the first time;
  • food businesses – to help them understand their duty under allergen regulations; and
  • peer groups of those with allergies, who can support those with allergies


Because the FSA were dealing with a Generation Z audience, with clear media consumption habits, the campaign was digital by default. FSA also worked in partnership with prominent allergy charities Allergy UK and Anaphylaxis Campaign (AC) to give the campaign optimum reach into the allergy community.

Timing coincided with ‘freshers’ month’ when many young people were leaving home for the first time to live independently. FSA conducted robust peer-reviewed research asking young people to talk about the challenges of living with a food allergy/intolerance. The survey had almost 3,000 respondents. This insight informed our content, methodology and messages.

Plans are in place for post-campaign research to evidence how the campaign’s messaging has landed.


FSA created a campaign called #easytoASK, reminding young people that it’s easy to

  • Ask about allergens,
  • Speak up and
  • Keep safe.

FSA used case studies to tell powerful real-life stories through proactive media outreach and social media (instastories and e-cards). FSA engaged their audience through a partnership with LADBible, and celebrity influencer Jack Fowler (Love Island) who lives with a nut allergy and has great reach on social media.  

FSA created toolkits so partners could share our messages through their own channels. These included local authorities, trade bodies and food businesses relevant to young people such as JustEat, Leon and EDUCatering. We also worked with universities and colleges, which shared our messages on websites and digital screens during freshers’ month. Our internal channels reinforced the campaign messages to FSA staff.


FSA exceeded their targets for media, digital and stakeholder engagement during the campaign.  The campaign’s LADBible video received 848,985 impressions and 295,157 video views, exceeding targets by 113%, making it the second most popular content posted on their channel for that month.

Paid social posts on Instagram (3 weeks) received 1,057,926 impressions with 125,637 3-second views and 56,226 10-second views from a total reach of 514,045. Facebook pages received 251,951 impressions and 10,824 engagements, while Twitter channels received 276,045 impressions and 7,083 engagements. Our average Instagram engagement was 4.33, double that of the same period last year. The campaign’s organic reach was amplified with shares by unpaid influencers, such as Nadia Hussain.

There were 51 trade/media/broadcast/press items, offering 91,596,376 million opportunities to see, reaching 57% of UK adults, with 100% positive coverage.

FSA was supported by 28 partners and 9 universities, while visits to our consumer and business web pages increased by 25% and 31% respectively.

Congratulations to the FSA team:

Catherine Clarke – Head of Marketing

Alison Shields – Head of Media

Lisa Nelson – Senior Communications Manager

Joanna Abishegam-David – Senior Communications Manager