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Concept store offers children food for thought

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-05-25 09:08
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Primary school pupils visit a concept store set up by UNICEF and the Chengdu authorities in Chengdu Youth Palace in Sichuan province. TONG FANG/XINHUA

On May 17, Liang Zijing took a packet of latiao (spicy gluten) to a self-service counter at a new concept convenience store in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, to check how many calories it contained.

The concept store opened that day in an activity center of Chengdu Youth Palace. It is part of the "know your food" campaign of the United Nations Children's Fund, which aims to empower children and young people to make informed, healthy choices about their diet through improved nutritional literacy.

Instead of edible food, dozens of imitation snacks are displayed on the shelves, including replicas of puffed grain foods, candy and sugary drinks.

"I didn't expect that I would have to climb 70 floors to burn off the calories," says local fifth grader Liang after scanning her chosen item.

Jointly launched by UNICEF and a number of Chengdu authorities, including the municipal health commission and the municipal education bureau, the store also offers various mechanical models and cartoons to help children understand which foods are nutritious and which foods they should eat less often.

UNICEF created this mock store to simulate the food environment that children are exposed to every day, says Cynthia McCaffrey, UNICEF representative to China.

"By visualizing and presenting information about the high levels of fat, sugar and salt that we know are unhealthy, we want children and their parents to understand the nutritional value of popular snacks and beverages, so they can make more informed choices," McCaffrey says.

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