Tesco, the UK's largest supermarket, says that it has given over 50 million pieces of fresh fruit to children in the past two years, under its 'Free Fruit For Kids' initiative.
The scheme was devised by one Tesco store employee in 2016, who suggested giving free fruit to parents for their children to eat during shopping trips as an alternative to sweets.
Since then, the concept has been rolled out to around 800 stores across the UK, providing over 21 million bananas, 19 million apples, and ten million oranges to young shoppers.
“I’m incredibly proud that a simple idea from one of our colleagues has gone on to have such a big impact," said Alessandra Bellini, Tesco's chief customer officer.
"Fifty 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.”
Free Fruit for Kids is one of a number of heath-focused initiatives launched by Tesco in the last three years.
In 2015, it became the first major retailer in the UK to remove confectionery products from its checkouts, and since then has introduced several in-store schemes to promote healthier options.
This includes permanent price drops on over 200 healthy products, including fresh fruit and vegetables, and the removal of sugar in its own-brand drinks aimed at children.
Tam Fry, head spokesperson for the National Obesity Forum, commended Tesco on its work, and encouraged the retailer to continue its free fruit programme.
“Only 16% of children are eating the recommended five-a-day and this is why Tesco's Free Fruit for Kids is so important," Fry added.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.