Berryworld is to give away £40,000-worth of blueberries to kids in a link-up with Sainsbury's.
Millions of schoolchildren will be offered the chance to join skipping classes, for which their reward will be a 60g punnet, equal to a serving of blueberries.
The Skip2bfit initiative, run by former boxer John McCormack with support from Berryworld, is now being taken national by Sainsbury's Active Kids scheme.
The scheme, which aims to give children a taste for healthy eating and exercise through skipping, would cost Berryworld £40,000 this year alone, according to Lisa Hoggarth, marketing manager, but she said the outlay would be worth it. "Children are the consumers of tomorrow and we're trying to increase our year-round blueberry sales."
Rob Crumbie, manager of Active Kids, said it would help Sainsbury's deliver on its corporate social responsibility commitment to promote healthy living and may also boost produce sales. "We understand the need to promote fruit and veg to kids to help them live healthier lifestyles. Beating obesity is all about balancing energy in and energy out, and Skip2bfit addresses both of those, he said."
Sales hit £70m in the year to 25 March [TNS], with growth slowing to 45%. But household penetration is low, and Hoggarth said there was a major opportunity for suppliers. "The berries are ideal for children. They're easy to eat, don't need peeling and there's nothing left over at the end. Plus, they are packed full of antioxidants."
Under the scheme, kids are provided with a reusable box, which protects soft fruit, potentially boosting fruit consumption further. "The box removes a big barrier to eating fruit from lunchboxes," said Crumbie. "If it gets squashed, kids don't want it any more."