The provision of quality, affordable low-calorie products for children is climbing up the convenience retailing agenda, with many stores kicking off the new year with a keen focus on healthy snacking.
Linda Williams, co-owner of Broadway Convenience Store, Edinburgh, has just relaunched the store’s Fruit Club initiative, offering children a piece of fruit each weekday for 25p, with the fifth for free.
“We’ve also started including fruit in our meal deals so that children have a healthier option over crisps, and we’ve introduced baked crisps which are growing in popularity, as are sugar-free soft drinks.
“The key is perseverance and attention to detail. I visit the fresh produce market twice a week to ensure that we have a broad offer of quality, loose products to choose from.
“You have to expect a certain amount of wastage at first, but as interest grows that diminishes. Responsible retailing is about more than guarding against underage sales, it’s about facilitating healthier lifestyles for all,” Linda added.
Earlier this month Public Health England launched its new Change4Life campaign promoting healthier snacks for children. The campaign encourages parents to ‘look for 100-calorie snacks, two a day max’ to cut sugar intake.
Anita Nye of Eldred Drive Stores in Orpington, Kent, welcomed the campaign. “As community retailers it’s vital we do whatever we can to promote healthier living, particularly among the younger generations.
“Surprisingly, it’s often the parents who need educating. You’d be amazed how many of them turn down the offer of a free piece of fruit for their kids.”
Jerry Tweney, owner of Prestbury Village Stores in Cheltenham, also plans to get behind healthy snacking this year.
“With the sugar tax coming in later this year, people are becoming much more aware about controlling their sugar intake,” he said.
“A few months ago we changed our meal deal so that juice and water were included rather than sugary drinks. Now we might look at including packs of fruit. If people are talking about the campaign it is something we have to follow.”
Kay Patel, seven Best One stores in London
“The campaign is good at encouraging people to try something different. Healthy food is something we try to offer anyway.”
Kate Mills, Heath Stores, Horsmonden, Kent
100 calorie snacks, two-a-day max
Public Health England’s (PHE’s) new Change4Life campaign focuses on healthier children’s snacks.
Booker is distributing 5,500 Change4Life shelf-barkers to Premier stores, and the Co-op is also getting behind the campaign by providing more healthy snacking products.
Parents can also get money-off vouchers from Change4Life to help them try healthier snack options, including low-sugar fromage frais and drinks.
Jamie Mills, PHE communications officer, said c-stores had an important role to play in the healthy snacking drive.