'Fruitness, enjoy it!' campaign wins more funds from European Commission

A health campaign aimed at getting children to eat more fruit has been awarded another three years' worth of funding by the European Commission.

Named "Fruitness, enjoy it!", the campaign features a cartoon character called Mr Fruitness who for the past three years has been promoting the consumption of peaches, nectarines, pears and kiwi fruit to children and teenagers throughout the UK, Austria, Germany, Poland and Sweden.

The second phase of the promotion is seeing plums being added to the list of fruit promoted by the superhero. New campaign novelties include Mr Fruitness mini playing cards featuring traditional symbols - hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds - replaced by pictures of fresh fruits.

The campaign originated in Italy and is being jointly funded by the EU and the Italian marketing and research organisation CSO.

Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) chief executive Nigel Jenney said such a campaign would be difficult to get off the ground in the UK because of the amount of red tape.

He called the process of applying for the EU promotion fund through Defra's Rural Payments Agency "complex and bureaucratic" and said it was extremely difficult to employ dynamic PR strategies, including Eat in Colour, while adhering to its requirements.

He added: "On this basis we are not aware to date of any UK fresh produce initiative that has taken up this fund."

"Any campaign that seeks to encourage greater consumption of fruit is welcome. However, it's vital that healthy eating initiatives are established, sustained and supported through local and national schemes."

His opinion echoes the FPC's stance on another EU healthy eating campaign launched earlier this autumn.

Central to this campaign is a "Tasty Bunch" road show that is visiting some 180 schools across the UK, Belgium, northern France, Ireland, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland throughout October and November to teach children the message: "Eat it, Drink it, Move it."

But the FPC said it fears the campaign is short-lived and criticised it for being "disjointed" with "an apparent lack of engagement with government and the UK fresh produce industry".

- Meanwhile, FPC president Jim Rogers has announced that, following consultation, the group is downsizing its Eat in Colour campaign from an active promotion using various promotional methods to just a website for consumers.

The campaign has run for the past three years to "increase the consumption and enjoyment of fresh produce".

Rogers said although the campaign has helped see a modest improvement in the nation's diet, "the fresh produce industry is under significant financial pressure currently. Eat in Colour will continue in a more modest form. We will, of course, have the ability to review the strategy in the future."


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