NZ’s Fruit & Vegetables in Schools Initiative for Vulnerable Children Acknowledged Globally

Posted on August 19, 2020

Boys Outside Eating Apples 1

New Zealand’s most successful and effective school-based nutrition initiative Fruit & Vegetables in Schools (FIS) has been selected for inclusion in a report for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Fruit & Vegetables in Schools (FIS) is a government-funded initiative that is managed by United Fresh and supported by the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust and has been providing daily fresh fruit and vegetables to children in low-decile schools for 15 years.

The report focuses on the effective promotion of the consumption of fresh produce for health and will be presented to the attendees of the International Workshop on Fruits and Vegetables in August 2020, in preparation for the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables which gets underway in 2021.

General Manager of United Fresh, Paula Dudley is thrilled at the inclusion in the report for the FAO and WHO.

“United Fresh has worked tirelessly to provide fresh fruit and vegetables daily to improve the health and well-being of New Zealand’s most vulnerable children. FIS is a world-class, innovative response to food insecurity and the invitation from the FAO/WHO has confirmed that,” says Dudley.

This year alone a total of 26+ million servings of fresh fruit and vegetables will be provided for over 123,000 Kiwi children and staff at 557 different schools nationwide as part of the FIS initiative. Even the restrictions of a global pandemic didn’t stop the initiative with United Fresh utilising their existing supply chain to provide over 28,000 boxes of fresh produce to communities during lockdown.

“We know that the opportunity we are providing for these students to try dozens of varieties of fruit and vegetables during the school year normalises eating produce for snacks and hopefully leads to healthier choices later in life,” says Dudley.

The FAO/WHO report will be presented to workshop delegates by the Global Alliance to Promote Fruit and Vegetable Consumption “5 A Day” (AIAM5), an international network of organisations that work together to promote the health benefits of fresh produce.

United Fresh is a founding member of the Spain-based AIAM5, and has worked frequently with similar organisations around the world on projects such as sustainability and other information-sharing studies that enable New Zealand’s pan-produce industry to keep up with the very latest in international research.

United Fresh President, Jerry Prendergast believes the opportunities the organisation has to work alongside similar multinational organisations has immense benefits to our local industry.

“United Fresh is committed to working on a global scale to add value to New Zealand’s fresh produce sector and to develop initiatives such as Fruit & Vegetables in Schools to improve the health and well-being of all Kiwis.”

About Fruit & Vegetables in Schools

Fruit & Vegetables in Schools (FIS) is a government-funded initiative that is managed by United Fresh and supported by the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust and provides daily fresh fruit and vegetables to children in low-decile schools. The initiative was piloted in 25 schools in 2004 and has grown to reach:

· 21 regions across New Zealand

· 557 schools (around 25% of NZ primary schools)

· Over 123,000 children and staff

· 26,000,000+ servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every year

The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust supports FIS by providing curriculum-linked resources that support learning with a selection of engaging eBooks and accompanying interactive activities in the areas of germination, composting, physical activity and eating seasonally.

Criteria for schools to join FIS:

· Decile 1 or 2

· Years 1-8 students

Download the 2020 FIS Fact Sheet Here.

About United Fresh

United Fresh New Zealand Incorporated is New Zealand’s only pan-produce industry organisation and our vision is to help support a sustainable fresh fruit and vegetable industry for New Zealand.

For more information visit and join us on LinkedIn.