Eight c-stores in London have revamped their fruit & veg offer in line with the government's Change4Life branding, and backed it up by building stronger links with local primary schools.

The stores, four from the Sunstar Group and four owned by the Thothaal Group, all trade under the Costcutter banner. In the past few weeks each store has upgraded the choice and quality within its fresh fruit & veg range and staged relaunch events involving local schoolchildren and MPs including Jim Dowd and Meg Hillier.

Sunstar operations manager Syed Husain told C-Store: "Fruit and veg is a vital category, as it gives the impression to customers that everything in the store is fresh. It helps bring people into the shop, as well as encouraging the local community to eat healthily."

Central government funding for Change4Life finishes at the end of March, but retailers can still make an application to use the branding in store in return for certain commitments relating to range and display of fresh fruit and vegetables.

James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, which has helped co-ordinate activity in the sector, told C-Store: "I would encourage all stores to embrace the benefits of Change4Life, and I'm pleased to see more stores getting involved. It's not easy for independents to communicate the quality of their fruit & veg offer, and customers recognise the Change4Life branding."

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