Free Fruit for Kids

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Photo credit: Jersey Evening Post

As a parent of two young children, I know how challenging a visit to the supermarket can be. They marvel at the crisps and salivate at the sweets, often trying to slip treats into my basket. So, I am really excited to introduce the new Free Fruit for Kids initiative that the Society is trialling this week.

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Children accompanying parents or carers while they shop can now pick a free piece of fruit from a selection, to encourage them to ditch the junk and snack on something healthy whilst instore. This eight week trial is now underway at our Grand Marché stores in Jersey and Guernsey, and depending on its success, we may extend or even build upon this exciting initiative!

Health and wellness is an unstoppable trend, and as the Channel Island’s community retailer we are very keen to play our part in encouraging healthier choices. We regularly see shoppers coming in with young children who don’t want to be confined to a trolley or restricted in where they can go. Some parents will understandably offer these children a snack to make the shopping experience less trying. Unfortunately, the snacks chosen will often be unhealthy.

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A recent survey of 1,400 Mumsnet users with at least one child revealed that 75% of parents said the ‘snack tactic’ made their shopping trip easier. Our research has also shown that some parents, presumably pleased to see their children eating fruit, will then buy more of the fruit their child chooses to try and continue the habit at home.

Following the huge success of the Goodness Gang and Grow Your Own Goodness Gang initiatives, we felt Free Fruit for Kids was a natural next step, and we hope our initiative will replicate the success of similar trials in the UK and US.

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The Goodness Gang has been a helpful first foray into the education of younger members of our community. Well over 100,000 of the cuddly fruits and veggies have been sold through Society stores to date.

We were delighted to have also received the praise from Dr Susan Turnball, Jersey’s Medical Officer of Health, who said: “a fifth of pupils in reception are overweight or obese and this proportion rises to a third of year six children. The impact on health budgets is considerable and the whole Island needs to come together to tackle this issue. I’m delighted that The Channel Islands Co-operative Society is trialling this Free Fruit for Kids initiative.”

I expect Free Fruit for Kids to make a positive difference to my shopping experience with my boys, as well as their general health and attitudes towards healthier food choices. I sincerely hope it will make a difference for you and your family too!

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