Giant’s Goodness Gang here to help kids eat their greens
New healthy eating campaign featuring 'vege-cation' tours
Most parents will agree that it can be difficult to get children to eat fruits and vegetables.
Mr Mark Herbert, chief executive officer of Dairy Farm Singapore (Food), the parent company of leading supermarket chain Giant, thinks so too.
"It is a universal problem.
"Parents around the world battle the same things," he told The New Paper.
With that in mind, Giant launched its islandwide healthy eating Goodness Gang campaign at Giant Tampines yesterday.
It encourages children to eat more fruits and vegetables in a fun and interactive way.
Running till mid-May, it includes initiatives such as promotional activities, child-friendly in-store features and educational "vege-cation" tours with kindergartens and primary schools.
The Goodness Gang is a group of 10 plushies named after various fruits and vegetables, such as Barbara Broccoli and Eddie Eggplant, with each character highlighting a key nutritional fact.
The aim is to engage and educate children as they shop for groceries with their parents.
At yesterday's event, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said she believes the campaign can help keep Singapore's obesity problem from getting bigger.
In her speech, Dr Khor said more than one in three adult Singaporeans are overweight or obese.
According to the Ministry of Education, the percentage of overweight and severely overweight children in mainstream schools also rose from 11 per cent in 2011 to 13 per cent last year.
A 2012 Student Health Survey by the Health Promotion Board found that 80 per cent of students aged 13 to 18 fail to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables.
Said Dr Khor: "The best strategy to combat these trends is through prevention.
"Studies have shown that the dietary habits of children are formed well before the age of five.
"I believe that parents are the greatest role models. If (children) see us enjoying vegetables and fruits every day, they are more likely to eat them as well."
A group of 55 children aged three to six from pre-school Kindle Garden was present to kick-start the campaign with its first "vege-cation".
They got to taste, touch and learn about different produce, such as broccoli, eggplant and strawberry.
For some of them, such as six-year-old Lorraine Lim, it was their first time grocery shopping and using the self-weighing machine and child-size checkout counters.
She said: "I don't usually shop with my mummy and daddy. It was fun... and the stuffed toy is also cute."