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Fruit and Vegetable Scheme

Volume 447: debated on Friday 16 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of the (a) 5 A Day and (b) school fruit and vegetable scheme. (68844)

I have been asked to reply.

The annual Food Standards Agency's consumer attitudes survey is used to track 5 A DAY awareness and consumption. The survey shows knowledge of the 5 A DAY message has increased from 43 per cent. in 2000 to 67 per cent. in 2005, while those claiming to have eaten at least five portions of fruit and vegetables the previous day has risen from 26 per cent. in 2000 to 30 per cent. in 2005.

The national foundation for educational research (NFER), in partnership with Leeds University, was commissioned by the Big Lottery Fund to carry out an evaluation of the school fruit and vegetable scheme. Results published in September 2005 demonstrated that children ate significantly more fruit while participating in the scheme. The results showed that increased consumption of fruit was not sustained when children's participation in the scheme came to an end. However, there was some evidence of increased knowledge of healthy eating, particularly in children from deprived areas.

We will be working to integrate the scheme more closely with other healthy eating initiatives in schools, to provide opportunities to maintain the behaviour change achieved by participation in the scheme.