McDonald’s is to provide free fruit in its Happy Meals to try to encourage kids to eat their 5 A DAY.
The promotion launches nationwide today (7 March), and involves offering a free fruit bag with every Happy Meal sold on the first Friday of every month.
Apples and grapes will be provided initially ahead of additional variants later in the year.
McDonald’s boasts that 'Free Fruit Fridays' - which was introduced at US branches in early 2012 - will account for 52 per cent of all children’s fruit bags sold across the UK on that day.
Alistair Macrow, senior vice president of food and marketing at McDonald's, said: “We know that kids and their parents love coming to McDonald’s for a fun treat and we want to make the most of that opportunity to help reinvigorate 5 A DAY habits.
"Free Fruit Fridays is the latest way we’re evolving our Happy Meal which we know so many UK families enjoy. Parents have told us they find it hard to find affordable fruit and veg, and to make eating 5 A DAY fun for their kids.
"We hope that the fun experience of Free Fruit Fridays at McDonald’s will help get millions more kids on their way to 5 A DAY, without costing their parents any extra.”
The move, trialled last month across 255 UK branches, represents the first major initiative from the company’s UK division since it pledged to do more to target kids globally with healthier alternatives last September.
As for how successful the venture will be, the fast food chain points to its 'Crunchy Wednesday' promotion in France, where McDonald's claims fruit sales jumped 19 per cent in the months following its launch in 2010.
To promote the campaign, there will be an advertising drive spanning TV (see YouTube video), outdoor and in-store, while ex-Eastenders star Tamsin Outhwaite will front PR activity targeting parents.