Ireland receives €1.3m for Food Dudes fruit and veg school scheme

Ireland is to receive €1.3m in the latest funding round from the EU’s school Fruit and Vegetables Scheme, the European Commission has announced.

Here in Ireland, this money goes to support the very successful Food Dudes programme, which is rolled out across Irish primary schools and aims to get young children to try new fruits and vegetables.

The scheme is part of an EU-wide initiative to encourage healthier eating habits in school children at a young age.

In all, the Commission has set aside €150m of EU aid under the School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme for the 2016/2017 school year.

The Commission says that this is put together with nearly €40m of national or private co-funding in the 25 Member States that participate.

Furthermore, Ireland can top-up its Food Dudes allocation at a co-funding rate of 25%, the Commission confirmed.

This will be the eighth year of the Scheme’s application since its launch in 2009, but it will also be the last year of implementation of the Scheme in its current form.

A new School Scheme, merging this with the School Milk Scheme, is likely to finalised in the coming weeks and the Commission says it will enter into force from August 1, 2017.

In the 2014/2015 school year, more than 10.2m children in participating Member States benefited from the Scheme, by receiving portions of fruit and vegetables in their school.

According to the Commission, this is an increase of 4% compared to the previous school year 2013/2014.