Children in the Middle East have been adopting fruits and vegetables in droves, influenced by a tasting movement driven by us at Nestlé Middle East and our partners at the LuLu Group.

It is generally recognized that early life offers the best opportunity to impact long-term health, which is why we have been encouraging kids to “Adopt a fruit, Adopt a Vegetable,” simply by offering them some at their local supermarket.

The outreach was launched in April 2017 and has so far been implemented in more than 30 LuLu stores across six countries in the region: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.  Our initiative was implemented in April as a pilot, and amplified during November and December. It focused entirely on fresh fruits and vegetables, aiming to guide kids to seek them out, and to inspire parents to make healthier food choices for their children. It involved offering all children who walked through the LuLu stores a choice between a free fruit or vegetable.

For Nestlé, “Adopt a Fruit, Adopt a Vegetable” is part of the United for Healthier Kids Global Program the company has developed with the aim to create a social movement by bringing together multiple partners to help nurture healthier generations.

The action of “Adopt a Fruit, Adopt a Vegetable”, was supported by selected messages and artwork within the fruits and vegetables sections of the stores, and ensured educators were on site to inform parents about the United for Healthier Kids mission to steer children towards healthy sustainable eating habits and lifestyles.

To attract kids and their parents at the fresh areas of the stores and offer an enjoyable shopping experience, key messages were brought to life through various characters created out of fruits and vegetables, with names and main benefits of each presented in a fun and appealing manner.

We believe that involving children in the purchase and preparation of food and meals contributes to building sustainable healthy eating habits and lifestyles, and there is no better way but to practice this in store, at the moment of truth where the actual selection and purchase take place.

Our hope is that more and more partners will come together to help combat the growing global burden of childhood malnutrition – which encompasses the spectrum of overweight, obese, and undernourished children. Immediate and collective action from both the private and public sectors is needed to help families tackle these growing issues together.

Our joint initiative connects smartly with The Consumer Goods Forum Health & Wellness global program on “Collaboration for Healthier Lives”. The Consumer Goods Forum provides a unique, global platform for retailers and manufacturers to work together and with external stakeholders to empower consumers to make healthier diet and lifestyle choices. It is also a good platform to learn from each other and scale-up good practices for the benefit of people and communities our industry serves across geographies.  Nestlé, as a founding member of the CGF, is embedded in community initiatives around the world and we are excited to see the progress being made in Health & Wellness and all the other CGF Pillars.

As Nestlé Middle East Chairman and CEO Yves Manghardt assures: “Nestlé’s purpose is about enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. We are committed to promoting healthy diets and lifestyles, specifically among children. Children who try new fruits and vegetables are likely to consume more of them.  Nestlé has a unique expertise to help tackle the diverse nutrition challenges facing people in the region. We have the capacity and determination to help children lead healthier lives which can be done best through concerted collaboration.”

And in testament to how the right collaborations promote success of such endeavors, LuLu Group Director and Global Procurement Head for Fruits and Vegetables Salim M.A stated: “LuLu stores provide the best platforms across the region for such a unique and informative outreach infused with fun for all our children. We are very happy to partner with Nestlé Middle East on this initiative, which is very much in tune with our passion to play our role in promoting healthier children and happier societies.”

Through nutritional science and a deep understanding of the regional context and the aspirations and eating habits of parents and kids, we at Nestlé identified four behaviors that United for Healthier Kids aims to bring into the everyday routines of children to ensure a healthier lifestyle in an inspiring way: MORE Movement, MORE Water, MORE Fruits & Vegetables as promoted in the partnership with LuLu, and MORE Managed Portions.

It takes a village to raise a child, and we in the private sector are major members of that community which needs to pool its efforts to create a healthier future for today’s children.

Karine Antoniades
Public Affairs and Creating Shared Value Manager
Nestlé Middle East