The Frutoteca – a very special way for children to learn about fruit and vegetable – is being launched by Spain’s 5 al día (5 a day) association as the new school year starts in Spain.
In a brightly-coloured inflatable dome that is both portable and easy to install, it will tour Spain to provide children with an attractive and interactive experience featuring 3D and 360º images.
The Frutoteca will help young consumers learn about fruit and vegetables from the farm to the fork, the history of this sector, fun facts and trivia about it, and its role in different cultures and civilisations, as well as how this produce is grown, harvested and transported. All in all a fun way to learn about the importance of the fruit and vegetable sector in daily life.
The Madrid-based 5 al día association, which promotes daily fruit and vegetable consumption, said that in this first phase of this project it aims to more directly reach out to over 18,000 children. It hopes visits to the Frutoteca will ultimately lead to change in the eating habits of these future consumers so that including fruit and vegetables in their diet becomes something natural and spontaneous for them.
What impact would it have if once a day a child’s energy-dense snack was instead replaced by a serving of fruit or vegetables?
Amid rising numbers of overweight and even obese children in the US, the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has updated its assessments of just such an impact on both household food spending and children’s caloric intakes.
The ERS findings include that in most cases replacing a snack with a fruit or vegetable reduces calories consumed, and in some cases it is also cheaper. For example:
Replacing a 2.6-ounce fruit Danish with 5.2-ounce portion of apples would reduce intake by 194 calories. It would also save a household 11 cents.
Replacing a one-ounce portion of a chocolate-chip cookie for a 5.2-ounce portion of apples would reduce caloric intake by 46 calories, though it would cost the household an additional 20 cents.
Which fruit and vegetables are particularly good for kids’ snacks
The ERS estimated the average costs for 156 fresh and processed fruits and vegetables as well as the price per portion for 20 snack items commonly consumed by children ages 6-13, including salty snacks, baked and sweet goods, and frozen treats. It also identified and priced 20 fruits and vegetables seen as potential replacements for these snack foods.
The potential fruit replacements were apples, bananas, cantaloupe, tinned fruit cocktail, grapes, oranges, canned peaches, canned pineapple, plums, raisins, strawberries, tangerine and watermelon.
The vegetable ones were broccoli, carrots, celery, red peppers, sweet potatoes (cooked) and tomatoes (grape or cherry).
Spain’s 5 al día (5 a day) association – which promotes daily fruit and vegetable consumption – put increased focus on creating healthy food habits among children last year.
At its annual general meeting in Madrid last week the non-profit presented figures showing fruit and vegetable consumption in Spain is below that recommended by the World Health Organisation. WHO advises at least 600g/person/day but current consumption in Spain averages just 400g, it said, and it is the country’s over-50s population that eats the most fruit.
“That’s why, in 2014 we put special emphasis on creating healthy consumption habits among children, the consumers of tomorrow, in the actions and promotions carried out by the association,” said 5 al día director Nuria Martínez Barea.
Among such initiatives, the non-profit organisation has developed a play for children titled “The Magic of Fruit and Vegetable” (“La Magia de Las Frutas y Hortalizas” in Spanish) and is rolling out the Frutoteca, a fruit and vegetable learning centre designed for children.
It has also developed various TV spots featuring children, held competitions, and has a school programme that last year reached 332 education centres and more than 70,000 children.
According to 5 al día, the latest data from the Spanish Government’s Consumer Food Panel shows:
Average annual per capita household consumption Fruit 101 kg Vegetables 63 kg Potato 23 kg Total fruit and vegetables 187 kg
It said Spain produces more than 24 million tons of fruit and vegetables – making it Europe’s second biggest fruit and vegetable grower and the sixth biggest globally.