“As a dad, I know it can be tricky getting children to eat their fruit and vegetables,” said Matt Davies, Tesco CEO for UK and ROI.
“We’re hoping this initiative will help create healthy eating habits that will stay with children as they grow up.”
The idea for the ‘Free Fruit For Kids’ scheme came after a Tesco checkout member in Lincolnshire suggested giving free fruit to children as an alternative to sweets.
The idea was so well received by customers that Tesco decided to trial the initiative in Scotland to see how it might work on a bigger scale.
The Government recommends children eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
However, according to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, children in England eat only about three portions a day on average.
The survey found only 10% of boys and 7% of girls between the ages of 11 and 18 meet the five-a-day recommendation.
“It’s great to hear about Tesco’s new ‘Free Fruit for Kids’ initiative,” said Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation.
“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.
“Unhealthy diets and being overweight can lead to serious health conditions like Type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable by eating well and getting active.
“We welcome Tesco’s ongoing commitment to making the healthy choice easier for all their customers.”
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 store formats, including smaller convenience stores.