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National Nutrition Surveillance Centre

Ionad Náisiúnta um Fhaireachas ar Chothú

Food Dudes Programme

The EU School and Fruit and Vegetable scheme is implemented in Ireland through the Food Dudes Healthy Eating Programme.  The Food Dudes Programme is an evidence-based incentivised behaviour changing programme which was developed by the Food and Activity Research Unit, Bangor University, Wales. The programme is managed by Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board and was first rolled out in Ireland in 2005. It is funded by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine Ireland and an EU financial contribution has been received under the EU School Fruit and Vegetable scheme since 2009.

Aims

The Food Dudes Programme aims to increases sustained fruit and vegetable consumption amongst primary school children through the provision and repeated tasting of fruit and vegetables over a 16 day intervention period with the support of accompanying measures in the form of role models and small rewards.

Project background

The original Food Dudes Programme was completed in 2014 having reached 477,423 school children and 3,127 schools (95% of all primary schools in Ireland). It was followed by the Food Dudes Boost Programme, introduced at the beginning of 2015, which aims to retain all the benefits of the original programme with a stronger focus on young children (4-8 years old) who go through a 16 tasting day intervention period while older children (9-13 years old) participate in a 8 tasting day intervention period.

The Food Dudes study has been evaluated in Ireland on several occasions. The initial pilot was conducted in 2009. A more recent evaluation was conducted between 2010 and 2011. Each evaluation has demonstrated that the intervention is effective in increasing the frequency of fruit and vegetables being brought to school in the short term to medium term. However, the impact of the intervention on longer term behaviour has not been reported to date.

The next evaluation of the programme is currently on-going and the aim is to establish whether the Food Dudes intervention is effective in changing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption during school lunchtime in the short and longer term.

Study design

The Food Dudes Programme is an evaluation of a school setting based intervention. The evaluation is divided into two phases. The first phase is an impact evaluation of the previous Food Dudes intervention conducted in schools in 2010-2011. The second phase of the study will be an outcome evaluation of the Food Dudes intervention being delivered in 2016. A report with the main results will be issued in 2017.

Check out the following website for more information on the Food Dudes Healthy Eating Programme.