Free Fruit Programs Make Big and Little Shoppers Happy

shopping-cart-with-fruit-web.jpgIf you’ve ever taken a small child grocery shopping, you know how difficult it can be to relax and enjoy the task at hand. A bored, whiny child can really dampen the mood and make the experience wearisome and arduous. Parents, have you found that you’ll do anything to keep your child happy and occupied so you have time to read a few labels and get a quality shopping done even if that means pacifying your kiddo with free cookie samples and other highly processed, grab-and-go distractions? I have to admit, when my kids were little and in tow with me at the market, they were fed their share of unhealthy free samples. I would have been grateful for the opportunity to distract my little ones with something healthy, which is why I’m not surprised that free fruit programs for kids are so popular these days. An ever-growing number of stores are offering a piece of free fruit per child to munch on while their parents shop. Parents rejoice! You’ll have no more cookie guilt now that your kiddos are eating real food at the store!

whole-foods-fruit-display-225x300.jpgFree Fruit at Natural Food Markets

As a Paleophile, frequenting natural food stores is probably part of your routine. Did you know that Whole Foods has a Free Fruit Program? According to the Whole Foods website, “Every time you bring your kids with you to the store, stop at Customer Service and pickup a Kids’ Club Coupon good for a complimentary organic apple, 100% Organic fruit leather, or natural animal crackers.” Of course, I recommend you go for the organic apple every time. At my Whole Foods store, apples, bananas and oranges are available to customers, no coupon necessary.

If you live in the Seattle area, you can take advantage of the free fruit program at the nation’s largest food coop, PCC Natural Markets where, “Kids ages 12 and under enjoy a free serving of a fruit or vegetable every time they visit PCC. Just let the produce staff know what your child would like to try and we’ll wash and cut it so it can be eaten while you shop. Encourage your children to give a variety of items a try and they’ll be enjoying a rainbow of produce in no time!” Well, everybody loves rainbows and I love that they’ll wash and cut the fruit for you! I recommend you do a Google search to find a food coop in your area that has a free fruit program.

dad-and-son-fruit-shopping-web-300x200.jpgConventional Markets Offer Free Fruit Too

Many conventional markets are getting in on the act as well. Some Safeway locations offer free fruit programs and participating Albertsons and affiliates Jewel-Osco, United Supermarkets, Amigos and Market Street provide free fruit. Some stores will require a membership card such as the Healthy Eaters FREE Fruit Card, good for a free apple or banana for children 12 and under each time you shop. If you’re not sure whether your store is participating in the program, just ask the produce manager or stop by the customer service center. If you live in Australia, Woolworths offers a free fruit program in all of its 961 stores and plans to give away a million pieces of seasonal fruit a year.

Is There A Free Fruit Program at a Store Near You?

Is there a store near you offering free fruit for kids? It shouldn’t be hard to find one because local programs are popping up everywhere. I’ll mention the free Produce Stand for kids age 13 and under at Piggly Wiggly in Racine, Wisconsin and the Fresh Fruit 4 Kids stand at Kroger Supermarket in Greenville, Ohio because they became popular social media items and have been widely reported on. However, the Central Market where I live in San Antonio has offered free fruit to shoppers for as long as I can remember and although I couldn’t find information on specific Walmart stores, I did read comments on social media that at least one location had a free fruit for kids stand set up in the produce section.

Even if your local market doesn’t have a free fruit program, they are likely to give you a piece of fruit (or a vegetable!) for your child if you ask for it. A representative from Stop and Shop confirmed with me over the phone that if you ask for a sample of fruit at any of their locations, they are happy to give you one.

fruit-question-mark-web-243x300.jpgWill Free Fruit Cure Our Ills?

Will munching on fruit instead of processed snacks at the store change a health paradigm that’s reactive and failing its mission? Will free fruit at the supermarket inspire a generation to make lifestyle choices that will redirect our health trajectory towards the greener pastures of prevention? No, that’s not likely. However, parents are increasingly looking for healthy real food options for their kids and it’s gratifying to see food outlets catching on. It’s a step in the right direction.

If you would like a Free Fruit Program implemented at your store, show the manager this article and request one!

Does your supermarket have a Free Fruit Program? Please share your experience of it with us in the comments. Has your experience been wholly positive or have there been negatives? We’d love to hear about it.


Sally Barden JohnsonSally Barden Johnson

Sally Johnson, RDN, LD is a registered and licensed dietitian and health coach. She is an avid CrossFitter and enjoys working with clients to find the best nutritional solutions within a Paleo/Primal framework to solve their health issues. She also enjoys spending time with her family. She can be found on Instagram at