Children's health and food Collaboration for Healthier Lives

Leveraging incentivisation, placement and signposting to boost sales of fruit and veg

Our case study with IGD, as part of our CHL progress update.


Industry body IGD has an ambition to make healthy and sustainable diets easy for everyone. To find out what drives long-term behaviour change, IGD joined forces with leading retailers, manufacturers and researchers at the University of Leeds to run a series of trials. 

Retailer Sainsbury’s led the first IGD trial which leveraged incentivisation, placement and signposting to help customers increase their fruit and vegetable intake, while making it affordable to try something new.  


The trial ran throughout January in 2020 and 2021, in selected stores and online. Activity tested the hypothesis that reducing the price of fruit and vegetables to 60p for four weeks would increase the portions and variety of products purchased. 

The campaign applied three behavioural levers. Price reductions were made and clearly communicated, promoted fruit and vegetables were given prominent placement in stores and vibrant, colourful marketing materials were used to signpost the health credentials and taste of these products.  

University of Leeds researchers used Sainsbury’s sales data to look at purchasing habits before, during and post interventions, to better understand how one intervention impacts the wider basket and to highlight any unintended consequences.  Data for 23.4 million baskets was analysed in this trial alone, with 1.5 million baskets containing a promoted fruit or vegetable. 

Data and results

Analysis of Sainsbury’s sales data across three years, using 2019 as a baseline, showed the 60p fruit and vegetable intervention created a significant short-term sales uplift. In January 2020, the intervention increased portions of promoted fruit and vegetables sold by 78%. In January 2021 the uplift was 56%, when compared to the baseline year. While January is traditionally associated with people prioritising their health, this intervention contributed to sales far above the expected seasonal increase.  

Key learnings

Three weeks into the four-week intervention period, sales of promoted fruit and vegetables declined. This shift could reflect people’s finances prior to payday or suggest that using placement and signposting only interrupts behaviour for a short time before going unnoticed by shoppers. 

This activity had the biggest positive impact on fruit consumption, especially higher value items that saw a greater cost saving. Sales of swedes did not increase above the baseline despite being on promotion, highlighting that there are barriers to customers trying certain foods, beyond cost. The intervention also impacted wider fruit and vegetable sales, with an uplift seen for both promoted and non-promoted fruit and vegetables during this period.  

What’s next?

IGD will continue to build knowledge of what works and what doesn’t to shift diets in different geographical regions and demographics in both the short and long term. 

To date, five retail trials have taken place and data sharing agreements are in place with several major UK retailers. IGD look forward to sharing results from these trials and continuing to work with industry, policy makers and academics to drive positive change in this space. 

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