A KNUTSFORD-BASED social enterprise took the chance to showcase their new healthy eating initiative to the Chancellor at a local school today.

Using behaviour change methods, Food Dudes aim to increase children’s consumption of fruit and vegetables and decrease the intake of sweet and fatty foods.

The new programme is being piloted by a year four class at St Vincent’s RC primary school which, along with Tatton MP George Osborne, was demonstrated to Cheshire East councillor Rachel Bailey.

“I announced at the Autumn Statement last week the launch of free school meals to key stage one school children,” said Mr Osborne.

“So it’s great to see today a local school and a local organisation, in my own constituency in Tatton, running a programme designed to encourage children to make healthy eating choices.

“With real evidence behind it, the Food Dudes programme and initiatives such as these will help ensure that the government’s investment in free school meals will not only help hardworking families on cost, but will have a real impact in helping to improve healthy eating.”

Year four pupil Nevan Kiernan said: “The blueberries are my favourite, and Mange Tout, I’ve had something like them before but at school was the first time I tried them and they are really good.”

By the time they leave primary school, more than a third of all children in the North West are overweight or obese.

“The children have had a great time learning all about the programme, watching the fun movies about the Dudes, taking part in the tasting sessions and getting Dudes’ rewards,” said St Vincent’s head teacher, Roisin Moores.

“The programme is well designed to change the children’s eating habits through fun and engaging activities, which provides a great framework for improvement.”

Food Dudes moved to Knutsford at the beginning of the year and is the brainchild of company chairman, professor Fergus Lowe.

“It is designed to prevent childhood obesity, one of the most serious public health issues of our time and has a wealth of evidence showing its effectiveness in helping children make healthy food choices,” he explained.