The private brand range, which goes on sale this week, will begin with easy-to-eat, star-shaped butternut squash bites. It will then roll out to include other fresh produce including smiley sweet potato faces.
Traditionally a technique used for products like tinned alphabet spaghetti and frozen potato dishes, this is the first time this approach has been used for fresh fruit and veg.
Tesco has taken learnings from how children relate to foods with interesting shapes and sizes and hopes it will help make mealtimes more engaging and fun and encourage them to explore a wider range of vegetables.
Tesco vegetable buyer Elizabeth Hall said:
“We want to give parents a helping hand with encouraging their kids to eat more vegetables.
“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).
Ali Capper, chairman of the NFU’s Horticulture Board said:
“Congratulations to Tesco for addressing how we can we can instill a love of fruit and vegetables in children from a very young age.
“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 so that no edible food goes to waste.
Elizabeth Hall added:
“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.
“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 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.”
The Butternut Squash Stars will be available in 200 Tesco stores across the UK and will cost £1.50 per 250g pack.