McDonald’s UK introduces ‘Free Fruit Fridays’ to help millions of children get their five-a-day.

On the first Friday of each month – ‘Free Fruit Fridays’ - McDonald’s will hand out a free fruit bag with every Happy Meal purchased. This, the company has estimated, will account for more than half (52 per cent) of all children’s fruit bags sold in the UK on that day.

The first free fruit bag on offer from McDonald’s UK will be apple and grape and by the end of 2014, McDonald’s expects to have handed out the equivalent of more than 3.5 million apples and over 23 million grapes free of charge to Happy Meal customers.

The launch of Free Fruit Friday has been inspired by a similar campaign run by McDonald’s in France which launched in 2010: ‘Crunchy Wednesdays’, as it is known, is supported by the French Association of Ambulatory Pediatrics (AFPA) and, whilst overall purchases of fruit in France were declining by 5%, McDonald’s saw a 19% increase in Happy Meal fruit orders outside of Crunchy Wednesdays according to official figures (between October 2011 and April 2012).

The launch of the campaign comes as official government figures reveal that people are finding it harder than ever to eat their recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables; according to the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey, less than one third of adults and around one in 10 older children meet the 5-a-day recommendation.

A new survey of 2,000 parents has found that just 1 in 10 children are eating the recommended 5-a-day.