Tesco says that it has now given more than 50 million pieces of free fruit to children in its stores after the idea was first proposed by an employee in its Brigg store in Lincolnshire almost two years ago.
The scheme, which was the brainchild of Maria Simpson, was so well received that the retailer subsequently rolled it out across the country, with some 800 stores now taking part. Maria commented, “Over 50 million, wow! This means that children across the UK have had a healthy and free piece of fruit from Tesco over 50 million times! It’s incredibly humbling for me to know that children are benefiting from this. They love it and the parents love it too.”
Alessandra Bellini, Tesco’s Chief Customer Officer, added, “I’m incredibly proud that a simple idea from one of our colleagues has gone on to have such a big impact. 50 million pieces of free fruit in two years will go a long way towards creating healthy habits that will stay with children as they grow up.”
According to research Tesco and mumsnet, a third of parents said their children have eaten more fruit thanks to the scheme, and three quarters of parents said that the initiative has made their shopping trip easier.
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A quarter of secondary school age children eat less than one portion of veg a day, according to a recent survey by the Food Foundation. The claim came in its November Veg Facts briefing which also highlighted issues such as the increasing reliance on fresh produce and the need for labour to harvest UK vegetables.
Anna Taylor, from the Food Foundation, told the Sunday Times, “We are facing a massive diet-related crisis among our young people. They are eating the same level of veg as in the 1970s. The five-a-day campaign has had no impact.
“The combination of higher food prices and pressure on UK horticulture production, in a situation where our children are already eating much too little veg, threatens to make our children’s diets even worse than they already are.”
Laura Sandys, former MP and Chair of the Food Foundation added, “Our food system makes it too hard for us to eat enough veg. 5 A Day is a great consumer awareness campaign but it has had no impact on our consumption of veg, which has gone down in recent years. Veg needs a major facelift with the best brains in advertising needed to make it a super desirable treat.”
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