Scottish convenience stores will be at the centre of a new partnership with the Scottish Government to promote the benefits of healthy eating.

First minister Alex Salmond announced the new Good Food Nation partnership with the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) at its annual conference in Glasgow last week. The detail of the partnership will be developed over the next few weeks.

“We are talking about nothing less than a transformation of our relationship with food. This will be a big task, taking a generation,” Salmond said.

“We know that 90% of convenience stores that are members of SGF’s Healthy Living Programme are based in the most deprived 33% of Scotland’s communities. With local residents making on average four visits to the store a week, convenience stores have the potential to reach a great deal of people.”

SGF chief executive John Drummond said: “We are delighted to become the first partner in the Scottish government’s Good Food Nation initiative. Together with the SGF Healthy Living Programme, this shows that retailers are a key part of the solution to Scotland’s diet-related health problems.”

Some 1,500 Scottish c-stores are signed up to the Healthy Living Programme, which Drummond described as an “ideal example of good partnership with government”.

Most delegates at the SGF conference agreed that c-stores had vital role to play in reducing the nation’s obesity crisis. However, Keith Whyte, owner of Mitchell’s c-store in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, said: “It’s about education, what we do isn’t going to change behaviour. No matter what you do, kids will come in and buy crisps, chocolate and fizzy pop.” But he did reveal that fruit and veg accounted for 11% of his sales.