Fruit in Schools (FIS) encourages children to eat more fruit and vegetables and to adopt healthier lifestyles. Through this programme, the Ministry of Health is aiming for a jump-start to healthy eating and lifestyle choices by reaching children in regions of high social and health need.
The programme began in 2005 and at the start of Term 3 of 2016, 547 schools and 102 thousand students were taking part.
FIS targets children at the eligible primary schools who each receive a free piece of fresh produce daily.
The key objectives for Fruit in Schools are to see:
- children in participating school communities eating more fruit and vegetables
- more school communities promoting health through a whole school approach
- an increased awareness and implementation of healthy eating and physical activity.
The programme is funded by the Ministry of Health and managed by the produce organisation United Fresh.
Widespread support for Fruit in Schools
Fruit in Schools was developed by an interagency group which included:
- the Ministry of Health
- the Ministry of Education
- SPARC (Sport New Zealand)
- New Zealand Principals’ Federation
- New Zealand School Trustees’ Association
- Health Research Council
- Health Promoting Schools
- School Support Services
- the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand
- the New Zealand Cancer Society
- District Health Boards
Fruit in Schools’ positive impact
Independent research has shown Fruit in Schools having a positive impact on children and nutrition.
An independent evaluation in 2015 found that FIS was highly valued by principals and aligned with international evidence on how to improve nutrition and reduce obesity in children. During the evaluation:
- 80% of principals said Fruit in Schools contributed to a sense of equality between pupils
- 98% said pupils knew more about nutrition and health
- 66% of principals said they had seen an improvement in students’ general health as a result of Fruit in Schools
In 2015, almost 20 million pieces of fruit were distributed to participating schools. Children are able to sample up to 24 different types of fruit or vegetable.
Find out more about Ministry-supported initiatives for healthy eating at
FInd out more about the work 5+ a Day does with schools and early childhood centres at: