Healthier kids, happier shopping: Tesco gives away over 50 million pieces of free fruit to children

Tesco’s ground-breaking ‘Free Fruit for Kids’ initiative has proved a real hit with children and parents, with over 50 million pieces of free fruit given to children since the programme launched almost two years ago.

The scheme was the brainchild of Maria Simpson, a Tesco colleague from Brigg Superstore in Lincolnshire, who 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 decided to launch it nationwide, with stands now in 800 stores across the UK. Research last year by Tesco and mumsnethighlighted the positive effect the initiative has had, with a third of parents saying their children have eaten more fruit thanks to the scheme. Three quarters of parents said that the initiative has made their shopping trip easier.

As well as giving away 50 million pieces of fruit, Tesco can also reveal the nation’s children are opting for bananas as their preferred free healthy snack. Over 21 million bananas have been snapped up by kids while their parents are shopping, followed by 19 million apples and 10 million oranges.

The initiative is just one part of Tesco’s drive to help make it easier for colleagues and customers to eat more healthily through its Little Helps Plan. Earlier this week, the retailer confirmed that all own brand soft drinks fall below the government’s new sugar levy, after a decade of work with its suppliers to reformulate and reduce sugar content in soft drinks. Tesco achieved this feat 17 months before the levy comes into effect.

Maria Simpson, Customer Assistant at Brigg Superstore, said:

“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, said:

“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.”

Tam Fry, Chair of the National Obesity Forum, added:

“Only 16% of children are eating the recommended five-a-day and this is why Tesco’s Free Fruit for Kids is so important. Getting more kids to enjoy healthy food takes time and I commend Tesco for their long-term commitment on this and encourage them to continue to keep it going to help many more kids eat their five-a-day.”

Other Little Helps Tesco has developed to help customers make healthier choices include:

  • In 2015, Tesco became the first major retailer to remove sweets and chocolates from checkouts across all store formats, including smaller convenience stores.
  • Also in 2015, Tesco announced that all children’s lunchbox-sized soft drinks it sells would have no added sugar.
  • In May 2017, Tesco delivered integrated colleague and customer health events in all UK stores, with little helps to make it easier for consumers to choose healthier food. This included permanent price reductions on over 200 healthier lines, including fresh fruit and vegetables. The event led to the biggest change seen in the healthiness of customers’ baskets in response to a campaign – Tesco saw customers choose more items lower in calories, fat, salt and sugar as a result.
  • Tesco continued this work in January 2018, with helpful little swaps for kids to promote healthier snacking for children, alongside other key initiatives to help colleagues and customers on health.
  • Tesco has also increased the number of healthier options at Tesco Cafés, making it easier for customers to have an affordable, healthier meal while shopping in store.
  • For three years, Tesco has worked in partnership with Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation, raising £24m.
  • Tesco has also partnered with Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life since 2002 raising over £40m.
  • In January 2018, Tesco launched a new 5-year strategic health partnership with the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK with the aim of helping Tesco colleagues, customers and their families to make sustainable lifestyle changes and adopt healthier habits.

Further detail on Tesco’s health strategy, as part of its Little Helps Plan, can be found here: tescoplc.com/little-helps-plan/products-health/

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