UK retailer Asda has teamed up with children’s TV programme LazyTown in a bid to get kids to eat their five-a-day target of fruit and veg on a tight budget.

Using healthy ‘superhero’ Sportacus, the retailer said it wants to promote healthy eating and regular exercise, as 88% of UK residents currently fail to reach the government’s five-a-day fruit and veg target.

LazyTown creator, Magnus Scheving, said: “LazyTown’s mission is to move the world and inspire children to eat healthy food and move through play. The healthy food option needs to be affordable, fun and easy for everyone. Asda has shown that this is possible through their Great Stuff range.”

Asda currently has 250 fruit and veg, or ‘Sports Candy’ as it is known in LazyTown, currently available in its stores priced at GBP1 (US$1.47) or less.

Ed Balls, secretary of state for children, schools and families, said: “Obesity is the biggest long-term health issue facing this country. I am delighted that Asda is encouraging children to be aware of the importance of healthy eating and enjoy a healthy active lifestyle. This is a step in the right direction to achieve our goal to encourage families to eat well, move more and live longer.”

In the past, food manufacturers have been heavily criticised for using characters that appeal to children to endorse less healthy foods, while the government is encouraging the food industry to increase the promotion of healthy options to children as part of its Healthy Food Code of Good Practice.

The tie-up will see life-size talking Sportacus cut-outs in Asda stores in a bid to encourage children to “move, jump and bounce” as they shop, the retailer said.  As part of the supermarket’s long-running Sporting Chance initiative, vouchers for free kids sporting sessions will also be available from stores throughout the Easter school holidays.