Zespri International is using a Facebook application to promote kiwifruit with the goal of reducing childhood obesity.

Kiwifruit campaign uses social media to fight obesityOn Aug. 31, the Tauranga, New Zealand-based Zespri launched Kiwifruit for Kids campaign, www.kiwifruitforkids.com, with the grower-owned organization partnering with six children’s health charities.

An application allows Facebook users to earn points by playing, using kiwifruit characters and tweeting about the campaign.

Focusing on health charities in six U.S. regions, Zespri plans to contribute $10,000 to the charity in the region winning the most points, and $5,000 to the second-place organization. Zespri also plans to contribute $1,500 to all the region partners.

The charities are:

  • The Mollen Foundation, Scottsdale, Ariz.;
  • Kids@Heart, Bend, Ore.;
  • New Orleans Outreach for Healthy Habits;
  • C.H.O.I.C.E.S., Kennesaw, Ga.;
  • Säjai Foundation, Hamel, Minn.; and
  • Crossroads, Saco, Maine.

“For us at Zespri, Kiwifruit for Kids was a natural fit,” said Liz Moody, a Zespri spokeswoman. “With childhood obesity on the rise in our country, we wanted people to know that there’s an alternative option to candy and processed foods and that you don’t sacrifice any taste when you make this choice.

“We have a real chance to change our children’s future, both through our hardworking charity partners and the simple message: when your kids are hungry, give them fresh fruits or vegetables. It’s a small act now, but it lays the foundation for a better future.”

The campaign runs through Oct. 31.