The Free Fruit for Kids initiative was originally launched in selected stores. Picture: Supplied

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it can also serve as a welcome distraction for children accompanying their parents on a shopping trip.

To promote healthy food choices, over 200 Pick n Pay stores across the country now offer free fruit to shoppers’ children under the age of 12.

The Free Fruit for Kids initiative was originally launched in selected stores but was recently rolled out to include more stores nationally after overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers.

Apples and bananas will be available all year, while other seasonal fruit will also be offered, such as nectarines, dessert peaches and plums, in the summer months. All fruit will be served whole.

Jacqui Peacock, Pick n Pay product category manager, says that the free fruit baskets will be a great way for Pick n Pay’s youngest patrons to keep occupied, and a help to parents trying to keep their children entertained during a shop.

“Fruit and vegetables are filled with nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and fibre. We hope this initiative helps to keep children off the less-healthy snacks when shopping, and helps instill a lifelong healthy eating habit.

“A fruit is an easy, quick and healthy snack. We always look for ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers, and we hope the in-store fruit baskets become something children really look forward to when shopping with us,” says Peacock.

“Getting your children to embrace a healthy lifestyle is really important. While we are offering free fruit to them, it’s also possible to get your kids more enthusiastic about veggies by being a bit creative. 

"We’ve found the ‘veggie challenge’ works well, where kids at home eat a vegetable each day with a name that starts with each letter of the alphabet – from aubergines to zucchini. Part of the fun is to ask your children to identify the different vegetables in-store and to find vegetables they might not have eaten already.”

Free Fruit for Kids is currently available in over 200 Pick n Pay stores across the country.