Jamie Oliver backs Countdown's free fruit for kids saying it 'makes a difference'

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has praised Countdown on social media for its free fruit initiative.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has praised Countdown on social media for its free fruit initiative.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is praising supermarket chain Countdown's decision to offer free fruit to kids.

Oliver posted on Instagram with praise for the New Zealand supermarket's new initiative.

"I thought this was really great what a New Zealand supermarket did for kids in store.... Very cool others could learn from this.... It all makes a difference right?"

The post has received more than 77,000 likes since the British chef weighed in on Thursday.

From Tuesday, all 181 Countdown supermarkets across the country have been offering free fruit for children.

The fruit is intended for harried parents to offer to children to keep them occupied while shopping in the supermarkets - it is not intended as fruit to be taken home as a replacement for paid shopping. 

Oliver has a commercial link with Countdown. Last year the supermarket ran a promotion where stamps could be collected and used to purchase Jamie Oliver kitchenware at a discounted rate.

He shared praise with European countries where similar initiatives are in place: "Apparently this is also very common in Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark and Norway !!! Big respect to the Nordics!:) Which is fantastic and so sensible."


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Countdown spokesman James Walker said the initiative was trialled at its Botany store in August and was rolled out nationwide on Tuesday following "overwhelmingly positive feedback".

Countdown acting managing director Pat McEntee said Free Fruit For Kids was about encouraging kids to eat healthy snacks and help parents while shopping.

The baskets of fruit were clearly labelled in the supermarkets' produce sections.

They were topped up by staff throughout the day to make sure there was always fruit available, Walker said, adding that the number of pieces of fruit each store gave away to kids varied.

The initiative has been a hit on social media, with Countdown estimating about half a million Kiwis now know of the free fruit due to shares and likes on Facebook.


 - Stuff

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