News and Events

Child Poverty Stats Reaffirm Importance Of Free Fruit & Vegetables In Schools

Posted on February 25, 2020

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New Zealand’s most successful and effective school-based nutrition initiative is applauding progress to reduce child poverty and says providing fresh fruit and vegetables is crucial to ensure ongoing success.

The Fruit and Vegetables in Schools (FIS) initiative will see 25 million servings of fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to 123,000 children and staff at 553 low decile schools this year. The programme is now in its 15th year and caters for low decile primary and intermediate schools nationwide. Government funding is up for renewal mid-year.

Today Stats NZ released the first set of comprehensive child poverty statistics since the Government set targets in the Child Poverty Reduction Act in 2018. They show seven out of nine child poverty measures have improved under this Government. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attributes that success to the $5.5 billion Families Package while acknowledging income is only part of the solution.

Labour market and household statistics senior manager Sean Broughton said examples of material hardship include the respondent reporting not eating fresh fruit or vegetables, putting off a visit to the doctor, or not being able to pay the gas or electricity bills on time.

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Free Fruit & Vegetables In Schools Receives Top Marks From NZ Parents

Posted on August 06, 2019

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Kiwi parents and school principals overwhelmingly back the Fruit & Vegetables in Schools (FIS) initiative and new research shows there’s a strong desire for the Government-funded scheme to be expanded.

Over 100,000 children from low decile primary and intermediate schools currently receive fresh seasonal produce to eat every day in class – over 24 million servings handed out every year at 550 different schools nationwide*.

The initiative aims to improve both health and education outcomes for kiwi kids, as healthy food helps tamariki to concentrate and learn. FIS is funded by the Ministry of Health, run by United Fresh and supported by The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust.

Chairperson of The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust, David Smith, says new Nielsen research conducted in May this year shows that the vast majority of parents (88 percent) agreed the initiative should continue beyond 2019.

“We’re heartened to see there’s very strong support for Fruit & Vegetables in Schools,” he says. “Eighty percent of parents would like to see the initiative extended to all decile three primary and intermediate schools.”

A separate survey conducted by Quigley and Watts Ltd showed school principals are also in favour of the initiative with 83 percent believing the overall health of their children would decline if FIS came to an end, and three quarters of parents surveyed say their children now eat more fruit at home because it’s handed out at school.

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Great News - Government extends Fruit in Schools Initiative

Posted on June 13, 2019

The Ministry of Health has confirmed the extension of Fruit (& Vegetables) in Schools, now providing over 120,000 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables to 549 schools every school day.

This successful initiative has now been providing healthy food to low decile schools for over a decade and research shows it is highly valued by principals, teachers, students and whānau. The extension of Fruit in Schools continues to address equity by providing the children with nutrient rich food enabling better learning in the classroom.

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Sweet Success: Fruit & Vegetables in Schools Providing Positive Impact

Posted on August 27, 2018

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New research into the impact of Fruit & Vegetables in Schools (FIS) has found it is the widest-reaching health initiative for low decile schools in New Zealand, vastly improving health and education outcomes for students.

FIS encourages students to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables by supplying one piece of produce each school day to over 118,000 students, and is run in decile one and two schools throughout the country.

Research conducted last term by Quigley and Watts, which included surveying and interviewing principals and parents, highlighted the significant health benefits the food and nutrition initiative provides students, as well as opening up other learning opportunities.

Principal Bruce Young at Holy Cross School in Papatoetoe, Auckland, says improvements in overall health and attitudes have been the biggest factors.

“The change in children’s general health has been huge, along with their attitudes to trying new things and experimenting. It’s also had an impact on healthier lunch boxes and we’ve become a water only school.

“The supportive social resources provided by 5+ A Day as part of Fruit in Schools are used two ways – because nutrition is integrated into everyday life, it provides a wider context for learning about the likes of science, for example, as well as improving health.”

Jerry Prendergast, President at United Fresh – the organisation that manages the initiative, says FIS addresses many social barriers to learning and aligns with the government’s priorities of achieving equity and child wellbeing.

“In many of these schools, children don’t have access to enough food, let alone fresh fruit and vegetables. Fruit in Schools helps address that barrier by feeding kids healthy food in a way that creates equality, regardless of background, and takes away the stress from whānau and teachers when children come to school hungry.”

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Nutrition Education Now Available For Year 9 Students in NZ

Posted on June 04, 2018

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Curriculum-linked resources are now available for Year 9 students to teach them vital information about food and nutrition so they can make healthier food choices for life.

‘Knowing Your Nutrients with 5+ A Day’ is an inquiry-based resource which aims to bust some of the myths and misconceptions around nutrition, and prompt discussion beyond labelling foods as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for you.

It’s the first time resources have been developed specifically for this age group by the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust who partnered with Plant & Food Research and education experts Cognition Education Group, for this project.

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5+ A Day Launches New Print & Digital Resources To New Zealand Teachers

Posted on April 30, 2018

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New 5+ A Day education resources will be sent to all primary schools nationwide this term to help teach Kiwi kids the importance of eating fresh fruit and vegetables. 

Ten new lesson plans, catering for Years 1-6, have been developed for New Zealand teachers by the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust and now include interactive eBooks which students can use in the classroom and at home.

“5+ A Day has been developing free curriculum-linked print resources for many years but these new ones have been developed by global education experts Cognition Education Group,” explains 5+ A Day Project Manager Carmel Ireland. “Supplementary material is available online including new digitally interactive eBooks which we’ve never done before and are quite excited about.

“The print and online resources are engaging, colourful and promote fruit and vegetable consumption by using lots of different topics which are linked to TheNew Zealand Curriculumthrough health and physical education, literacy, numeracy and science. 

5+ A Day’s mascot, Fredge, is the star of five new eBooks which can be experienced on tablets, computers, or with the whole class using a data projector. Each title is designed to be used as part of one of the lessons, as an introduction, or to help reinforce key ideas through small group or independent use.

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