Alongside basic aviation skills and street sports, Britain's youngest members of the Scout and Guide movement will soon be able to get a badge for healthy eating, The Grocer has learned.

The course is being developed by the Eat in Colour campaign, in association with the Beavers - the part of the Scouts devoted to six- and seven-year-olds.

For the first time ever, Britain's 50,000-strong Beaver troupe will get a basic grounding in preparing fresh fruit and veg and improving their diets.

The initiative, which launches in February, should help fight Britain's obesity epidemic and help to boost sales of fresh fruit and veg, according to a spokesman for Eat in Colour. "By making fruit and vegetable preparation fun Eat in Colour hopes to plant the seed of enthusiasm in the next generation," he said. "To earn the badge the children will have to produce a fruit salad, create a healthy snack and show a basic knowledge of healthy foods."

The Eat in Colour website will provide a range of recipes, games and homework activities to enable the children to take the healthy eating theme home with them.

Eat in Colour is also launching a football-focused campaign called Eat in Colour United, which will encourage children to get match fit by eating lots of healthy fruit and veg.

In the new year, a 'B not biscuit challenge' will urge workers to swap sweet treats for fruit when they feel like a snack. "It's supposed to be fun - we're not about beating people into submission with fruit and veg," said the spokesman.

Eat in Colour has secured another three industry sponsors, although they are yet to be named, he added.

Their money will enable the campaign to maintain current levels of activity, although funding still falls far short of the targeted £500,000 per year. Major backers include Tesco, Asda and Somerfield as well as a host of importers, growers and packers.