EU School Fruit Scheme
The EU School Fruit Scheme is a voluntary scheme which provides school children with fruit and vegetables, aiming thus to encourage good eating habits in young people. The scheme started in the school year 2009/2010 and reaches nowadays close to 8 million school children. The European Commission is putting on the table €90 million per year for the provision of fruit and vegetables in schools, while governments have the choice of whether to participate or not. The programmes have to be co-financed, either on a 50/50 basis, or 75/25 in the so-called 'convergence regions', where GDP/capita is lower. The money cannot be used to replace existing national financing, but should encourage additional activities, be it linked to existing programmes or creating completely new initiatives.
The major objective of the scheme is to increase the long-term consumption of fruit and vegetables among children and to foster healthy eating habits among them. As they are more exposed to junk food rich in salt, fats and sugar, influencing consumption habits for the better among schoolchildren would help correct this matter. By getting the youngest repeatedly to taste the flavour of different fruit and vegetables, it will give them the opportunity to become acquainted with new flavours and lead them to new consumption habits. Furthermore, the scheme can facilitate the access to initiatives promoting the consumption of fruit and vegetables by schoolchildren in poorer regions and among disadvantaged sections. Finally, the scheme has the opportunity to bring Europe closer to its citizens, as a pan-European school fruit scheme may bring European Institutions closer to all its citizens in their daily lives by promoting healthy daily actions.