Scottish Executive News
Healthy food at corner shops
A six-month pilot study to introduce healthy food ranges to local
convenience stores has been a great success, according to Health Minister
Andy Kerr speaking ahead of a visit to a local store in Fife which now
provides a range of healthier foods for its customers.
Mr Kerr said:
"I am delighted that this pilot study has proven so successful. It
demonstrates the enormous contribution convenience stores can make in
getting people to eat more healthily.
"One store alone quadrupled sales of fruit and vegetables simply by
increasing the space available for the produce and moving it from the back
of the store to the front. That such small changes can have such a big
impact is extremely encouraging.
"Scotland's health is improving but not fast enough. Major health
inequalities still persist in our society.
"I am fully committed to improving the availability of affordable,
quality healthy food - particularly in low income areas. We will build on
the success of this pilot study and increase the number of local shops
who are committed to providing healthier food choices.
"Currently we have more than 300 shops wanting to take part in the next
phase of this pilot which is great news. Phase 2 will be a 12-month
campaign and we anticipate that this will go a long way to improve the
supply of healthier food options to the less affluent communities within
David Sands, Managing Director of David Sands Ltd in Kennoway, said:
"We decided to be part of this pilot after conducting a survey which
showed that two thirds of our customers wanted us to sell more healthy
"Since introducing a wider range of healthier food and drink options,
even we have been surprised by their popularity and we are rolling out
these products to all our stores."
The initiative is a partnership between Robert Wiseman Dairies, the
Scottish Grocers' Federation, major operators in the convenience sector
(which includes David Sands Ltd., Aberness Foods (now Somerfield),
Morning Noon and Night (now Scotmid), Botterrills Convenience Stores and C J
Lang & Sons Ltd.) and the Executive's Health Department.
From April to October 2004, a six month pilot study (Phase 1) was
undertaken in order to evaluate the potential of the convenience store
sector to successfully and profitably promote the healthyliving brand and
healthier food choices, with a view to helping inform further action in
The total cost of Phase 1 was £20,000, of which 50 per cent was
contributed by the Executive, with the other 50 per cent being contributed by
the industry partners.
All the participating convenience stores acknowledged that the growing
demand for a healthier lifestyle among the Scottish population offered
retailers considerable scope to develop this part of their business.
During the course of Phase 1, the sector tested a wide variety of
potential promotional initiatives including:
- healthy meal deals
- fruit coupons on consumer leaflets
- a free piece of fruit with non-sugar drinks
- free fruit for every child accompanying a parent on a shopping trip
- price promoting fruit and vegetables
- spend £2 and receive a free piece of fruit
- sitting healthy eating options near check out areas
- displaying fruit at checkouts instead of confectionery and snacks
- using the healthyliving apple brand to signpost healthy options
- adopting a secondary school
- issuing flyers to the school to advise of a healthier lunch meal deal
including a free piece of fruit
Some examples of the results:
A 14.6 per cent increase in total soft drink sales and a 21per cent
increase in cash profit was achieved by increasing the range of fruit
drinks and decreasing the range of carbonated drinks available in-store
A promotion featuring a healthy range of ready to eat meals resulted in
a 260 per cent increase in sales
Moving fruit and vegetables from the rear of a store to the front
resulted in a 36 per cent sales increase in the first week and has produced
ongoing increases of 62 per cent
In another store, a 400 per cent increase in sales of fruit and
vegetables was achieved by increasing the space available for this category
and by moving it from the back to the front of the store
A meal deal featuring free orange juice and fruit with every sandwich
resulted in a 50 per cent increase in sales
Another meal deal featuring light yoghurt with a sandwich resulted in
the selling of 740 deals extra to normal business
Displaying pieces of fruit at checkouts rather than confectionery
resulted in the sale of more fruit than confectionery
The initiative is a key component of the Executive's strategy to
improve access to healthier foods in the local community.
There are approximately 5,000 convenience stores currently operating in
Scotland, employing in excess of 25,000 people.
The UK convenience store market is currently growing at twice the rate
of the overall grocery market (4.7 per cent to 2.3 per cent: Source
In Scotland for the 12 months to May 2004, the convenience store market
share was growing at twice the rate of the rest of the UK (i.e. 9.4 per
cent per annum: Source IGD).