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Local shops show big appetite for healthier foods in Southwark

20 January 2023

Southwark's shelves are being stocked with healthier food thanks to local shops joining a pilot supported by Southwark Council.

  • Stock of healthier food options up by 22 per cent in 35 convenience stores in Southwark.
  • Sales of healthier food options up by 1000 per cent at Bestway Wholesale’s depots in South London following campaign.

The trial included 35 stores in low-income areas in the borough. They now offer 22 per cent more products that are lower in salt, sugar and fat. This equates to between eight and nine new products available per store.

Stores reported that the new healthier products sold, sometimes much better than expected. They all said they intended to keep these products on the shelf and further grow their healthier ranges, demonstrating the value these products have brought to their businesses.

The Good Food Wholesale and Retail project launched in 2019, delivered by Rice Marketing in partnership with Southwark Council, Bestway Wholesale, and Impact on Urban Health (part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation).

The Good Food Wholesale and Retail project

Bestway Wholesale saw a 1000 per cent increase in the sales of healthier options following a two-day push campaign in their Lewisham and Croydon depots. The campaign was supported by 13 suppliers, who helped provide healthier, lower-cost options for the wholesaler to promote to retailers.

The pilot's success was celebrated at an event at Bestway Lewisham depot. Stores from the pilot collected free stock of 14 healthier options from Bestway Wholesale paid for by Southwark Council through their High Street Recovery Fund. They are the first London borough to take an aligned approach between public health and economic development.

Cllr Evelyn Akoto, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “The cost of living crisis means we are pushing even harder to make sure all residents have easy access to healthy foods they can afford. Many of our families rely on their local convenience store, which tend to have fewer healthy options. This pilot proves that with the right support, these shops can play a key role in the health and wellbeing of our communities.”

Cllr Martin Seaton, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Business & Town Centres, said: “The success here shows that our borough's health and economic growth can go hand in hand. Healthier food options on shelves is good for business, as well as for our residents. We hope more stores, suppliers and wholesalers will join us in putting health at the heart of their strategies.”

Matt Towner, Portfolio Manager at Impact on Urban Health, said: “The Good Food Retail and Wholesale project demonstrates how effective cross-sector partnerships between retailers, local authorities, wholesalers and suppliers can be in increasing access to healthy, affordable food for all. We’re excited to move to the next phase of work and build on the success of the pilot.”

Stephanie Rice, Founder and Director Rice Marketing, said: “By understanding the barriers retailers face to stocking healthier options, we were able to support Bestway Wholesale to develop a Top 100 healthier options range with their suppliers as well as providing action plans for retailers to grow the availability of healthier lines. We are delighted with the results and look forward to building on this success.”

Kenton Burchell, Group Trading Director Bestway, said: “The pilot has shown profitability and health can go hand in hand as it successfully achieved sales uplifts on healthier options benefiting both the retailer and the customer. We were delighted to have worked with the key partners to lead out on the wholesaler and retailer proposition leading to an 1000% increase in sales of the healthier options at a two-day trade campaign held at our depots in Lewisham and Croydon. The trials have proven that if all partners work together, we can deliver a significant change in consumer behaviour. We are excited to capture the key learnings and build out our strategy for the National roll-out as part of our strategic agenda to support independent retailers to stock better ranges and grow their sales.”

If you are interested in becoming a Good Food Retailer, please contact stephanie@ricemarketing.co.uk or visit www.ricemarketing.co.uk

Page last updated: 20 January 2023