Tesco has given over 50 million pieces of free fruit to children since the start of the Free Fruit for Kids initiative two year ago.
The scheme was the brainchild of Maria Simpson, a Tesco worker 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.
Maria Simpson 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.”
Research last year by Tesco and mumsnet highlighted 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.
Tesco said children are opting for bananas as their preferred free healthy snack with Over 21 million bananas being snapped up by kids while their parents are shopping, followed by 19 million apples and 10 million oranges.
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.”