Tesco has unveiled its latest initiative to improve its image and win back customers – offering children free fruit while their parents are shopping in its stores.
The scheme is being launched in over 800 Tesco stores across the UK with the retailer saying the move is aimed at creating healthier eating habits amongst children. Research has shown that only around 10% of children are eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
The move comes after Maria Simpson, a Tesco checkout worker from a store in Lincolnshire, suggested giving free fruit to parents for their children to eat during shopping trips as an alternative to sweets. The idea was taken up by the store and was so well received by customers that Tesco trialed the initiative in Scotland to see how it might work on a bigger scale.
Matt Davies, Tesco CEO for UK and ROI said: “We’re Britain’s biggest greengrocer, so we want to make it easier for parents to get their children eating more healthily.”
“As a Dad, I know it can be tricky getting children to eat their fruit and vegetables, so we’re hoping this initiative will help create healthy eating habits that will stay with children as they grow up.”
The initiative has been welcomed by health experts and charities. Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “It’s great to hear about Tesco’s new ‘Free Fruit for Kids’ initiative. It’s a positive step towards improving children’s health throughout the UK and helps parents ensure their children get their five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.”
Helen Dickens, Diabetes UK Interim Director of Prevention of Type 2 diabetes, added: “Eating fresh fruit is an important part of a healthy diet, and this exciting new initiative from Tesco will make it even easier for parents and children across the country to swap less healthy snacks for one of their five a day.”
The initiative marks the latest step in Tesco’s drive to make it easier for customers to eat more healthily. In 2014 Tesco became the first major retailer to remove sweets and chocolates from its checkouts across all its store formats. Whilst last year, Tesco announced that all the children’s lunchbox-sized soft drinks it sells would have no added sugar in them.