More than 100 convenience stores in the North East of England are now participating in the government’s Change 4 Life anti-obesity campaign, and reaping the rewards of stocking a healthier range.

A recent evaluation of the campaign, which was launched in November 2008 with 12 stores, unearthed “incredibly positive results,” a Department of Health (DoH) spokesman told Convenience Store.

Convenience Store has also learned that Landmark had recently joined the ranks of major symbol groups signed up to the scheme, including Nisa-Todays. Spar, Costcutter, Mills Group, Premier and Musgrave Retail Partners GB. 

Stores signed up to the scheme now stock a much wider range of fruit and vegetables than before, and have a dedicated member of staff to champion healthy eating. 

The scheme is also supported with eye-catching posters and signage to help educate consumers of the benefits of a more balanced diet and lifestyle.

Figures from the evaluation report showed that the scheme was succeeding in changing consumer behaviour. More than a third of shoppers questioned in an in-store survey said that they would buy more fruit and vegetables from their local shops in the future.
“The evaluation shows the scheme is proving to be an overwhelming success,” the spokesman said. “This is fantastic news for everyone – a boost to local customers’ health and to shopkeepers’ profits.”

It is hoped that the scheme could be rolled out to other more deprived parts of the UK in 2010.

A recent survey by price comparison website named the North East of England as the unhealthiest part of the UK, with shoppers spending significantly less on fruit and vegetables, and more on “junk food” than London and the South-East.