The Change4Life scheme designed to help people eat their 5-a-day in deprived areas has been rolled out nationally following the launch of the final wave in London by public health minister, Anne Milton.
All the shops involved in the scheme sell a wider range of fresh fruit and veg and prominently display the produce for customers, using Change4Life branding.
An earlier pilot of the scheme showed that fruit and veg consumption rose by 40%.
The launch comes, as further details were unveiled of the Association of Convenience Stores’ pledge to fund another 1,000 stores across the country by 2012.
Speaking at the London launch in a NISA local store in Wood Lane, the minister outlined the success of the Change4Life Convenience Stores Campaign to date.
Anne Milton said: ‘The Change4Life scheme is a fantastic way of making it easier for people to get fruit and veg round the corner from where they live. Eating 5-a-day can make a real difference to people’s health.
‘And shopkeepers win, too. Stores involved in a pilot have seen on average an increase of 40% in sales of fresh fruit and vegetables.
‘Today the scheme has gone national with around 250 stores across England. But it will keep growing following the pledge made by the Association of Convenience Stores to fund 1,000 more stores. This is brilliant news for local communities and people’s health, as well as for shopkeepers’ profits when times are quite difficult.’
An evaluation of a pilot of the Change4Life scheme showed that:
• Sales of fruit and vegetables increased by around 40%
• Overall store takings increased on average by over 10%
• Customers saying that the stores were a good place to shop rose from 43 to 54%.
To date, the Department of Health has provided funding to buy fruit and vegetable chillers, stands and marketing materials and all retailers involved have match funded the government’s contributions.
It has also funded a project co-ordinator to work with the stores offering advice on maximising profits, minimising waste, as well as displaying and promoting the new fresh produce to the local community.
Chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, James Lowman, said: ‘Local shops are at the heart of communities, and the Change4Life Campaign’s help in improving the fruit and vegetables on offer in these stores makes a huge difference to the diet choices that people can make.
‘With London stores involved, the scheme is now national and will bring significant benefits to retailers and their customers. Our Responsibility Deal pledge to fund a further 1,000 stores shows the enthusiasm and commitment from the convenience store sector to Change4Life and to promoting healthy choices.’