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Research into the snacking habits of 2,000 children in English schools has shown that trials of new healthy products can encourage more positive attitudes to healthy eating, and greater likelihood of pupils buying such products.

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Planning a taste-and-trial or culinary demonstration

A taste-and-trialKeep it simple. Fruit kebabs or small cups of mixed dried fruit are easy to prepare and keep it simple in terms of hygiene. If you are going to prepare more complicated foods, try them out beforehand so you know what equipment and time you will need. You could ask your visitors to fill out a questionnaire on how much they liked the foods, and how much they would be prepared to pay for it.

Resources. The Food Standards Agency 'Bad Food Live!' DVD provides teachers with an excellent way of teaching basic food hygiene messages, from the importance of handwashing to cooking and chilling food properly. Teachers can get a copy of the video by calling 0845 606 0667, or email: quoting ref: FSA/0845/0903. Food hygiene fits into the PSHE & Citizenship curriculum at key stages 2 and 3, 'developing a healthy, safer lifestyle'.

Link it into your 'whole school' approach. If your school is running a healthy day/week, choose to promote your fair trade taste-and-trial during one of these events. This will immediately increase your audience and encourage more pupils to try new products as well as promoting healthy lifestyles.

Invite parents or other members of the community. A taster evening is a great way to get parents involved. And you never know - they may become willing buyers!


CASE STUDY! We did it! 

The young co-operatives who attended the November 2005 Enterprise Week in Manchester found themselves at the receiving end of a taste-and-trail session. Many young co-operative members tried fair trade foods that they'd never tried before, and went away discovering they liked something they had never even thought of.

Healthy Schools & Fair Trade: Sustain was contracted by Young Co-operatives to assess the implications of the new school food standards for fair-trade food and drink products sold in schools. This work was supported by a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

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