Easy-to-eat and star-shaped, the butternut squash stars go on sale first as the retailer introduces its new collection of vegetables designed specifically to drive up consumption amongst UK children.
Next will be smiley sweet potato faces, followed by other packed and cut fresh produce.
The supermarket says it’s the first to use the technique of exciting shapes and sizes to engage children and make eating vegetables more fun, as well as to encourage them to explore a wider range.
Traditionally this technique has been used for products such as tinned alphabet spaghetti and frozen potato dishes, but this is the first time the strategy has been used for fresh fruit and vegetables.
The range goes on sale today (September 7) starting with the butternut squash bites priced at £1.50 per 250g pack.
“We want to give parents a helping hand with encouraging their kids to eat more vegetables,” says Tesco vegetable buyer Elizabeth Hall.
“We’ve taken away a lot of the hassle out of preparing vegetables like butternut squash, which might deter busy cooks at home, whilst also making them more appealing for children.
“We hope by adding a touch of novelty, we can make vegetables the deliciously nutritious and fun part of every meal.”
The move by Tesco to create the child-friendly vegetable shapes has been welcomed by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).
“Congratulations to Tesco for addressing how we can we can instil a love of fruit and vegetables in children from a very young age,” says Ali Capper, chairman of the NFU’s Horticulture Board.
“We have long been calling on food manufacturers to create fun-shaped fruit and veg for children in smaller-sized portions, which we believe could have a role in helping reverse the current obesity crisis.”
The creation of the butternut squash stars is the latest way Tesco partners with growers to ensure that no edible food goes to waste. Over the last few months, the retailer has been buying up significant volumes of produce like cauliflower, strawberries, raspberries and cherries after a series of bumper crops because of good growing conditions and ideal weather.
“At Tesco we’re passionate about tackling food waste from farm to fork. We work with our growers and suppliers to make sure we use as much of their crops as possible to prevent food waste,” Hall adds.
“Besides these stars, butternut is used to make our carb alternatives such as fusilli, spaghetti, lasagne sheets, as well as wedges and soups.
“These butternut squash stars are a brilliant way to excite kids with great tasting, high quality vegetables that also helps producers who are able to sell even more of their crop.”