Tesco has launched a nationwide food education scheme aimed at improving primary school children’s understanding of how to eat healthily, as part of its Eat Happy initiative.
The aim of the scheme, called Farm to Fork, is to take an initial one million of the five million primary school children in the UK this year, on educational trips to factories, farms and supermarkets where they will receive practical demonstrations of where the food is sourced and how it is made.
Children will be able to speak to food suppliers around the world such as Costa Rica-based banana growers, via Google+ hangouts and live video chats using Google’s Connected Classrooms feature.
Meanwhile Tesco has also paired with European social media cooking channel Sorted Food to further engage children with content designed to make cooking fun and accessible.
The initiative, backed by charities including Diabetes UK, the Children’s Food Trust and the NFU, will launch at the end of February and will receive a £15m investment from the supermarket giant in the first year.
Tesco UK managing director Chris Bush, said: “We know parents are concerned that kids don’t always understand how food is made and where it comes from, which is important to developing a strong positive lifelong relationship with food.
“Working closely with teachers, our suppliers and a number of partners including the Children’s Food Trust, we want to help make the relationship primary school kids have with food better, and that’s the aim of the Eat Happy Project. It’s part of our ambition to help all of our customers and colleagues lead healthier lives and just one of the ways we are using our scale to help communities across the UK.”
The second phase of the project, due to launch later this year, will see Tesco work with the Children's Food Trust to establish cookery courses for children in stores.
The project’s launch comes as new research from Future Foundation revealed that although 90 per cent of children say they know what foods are healthy, fewer than 10 per cent hit their five-a-day target.
More than half (52 per cent) believe potatoes count towards the total, and one in ten (10 per cent) also count carrot cake.
The same report also highlighted parents’ concerns about their children’s relationships with food, with two thirds saying their children eat “much more” convenience food than they did and 80 per cent admitting their offspring are less healthy than they were at the same age.
The Farm-To-Fork trails and Connected Classrooms will be open to every primary school in the UK.
Arla, Greenvale, Noble Foods, Gs Produce and Berryworld are among the food suppliers to be taking part.