Children's health and food

Engaging with food wholesalers and convenience stores to drive uptake of healthier options

We're working with Rice Marketing to engage wholesalers and local retailers to improve their uptake of sales from healthier products.

Key partnership information

Partner: Rice Marketing

Funding amount: £79,700

Duration: December 2020 – February 2022

Programme: Children’s health and food


What we’re doing together

With Rice Marketing, an independent retail marketing consultancy, we’re working to support wholesalers to drive up their sales of healthier products into local convenience stores, and, with convenience stores to drive up their sales of healthier products to the public.

Together, we ran an initial pilot in Bestway wholesale depot, Croydon, to demonstrate how simple and practical changes to positioning, pricing, and marketing can help influence retailers to purchase healthier options. Building off this tested approach, there’s now room for scale across other wholesalers to stem the flow of unhealthy products across the boroughs.

We also ran an initial pilot with convenience stores, resulting in an increased range of healthier items available in store and an uplift in sales of those products. It emphasised that small and simple changes can have a significant impact on purchasing behaviour.

Our aim is to expand this approach and tap into a network of local convenience stores. We want to make a case for the commercial benefit in changing what’s stocked in store. We’ll test a range of levers, from promotion to merchandising, to impact the uplift of healthier products locally. Similar to wholesalers, we want to show that promoting health is not just good for people but also good for profit.

Insights and learnings from our pilot at the Bestway wholesale depot, Croydon

Aims of the partnership

We know that the moment families and children step outside, they are flooded by invitations and incentives that encourage unhealthy food options.

Our partnership aims to influence this trickle-down by:

  • Engaging wholesalers to improve the sales of healthier options
  • Positively impact the supply chain to local stores
  • Influence local purchasing behaviours

With this funding, we want to support a commercial, sector-wide drive towards better health through The Association for Convenience Stores and the Federation for Wholesale Distributors. As well as building a groundswell of commercial-led action, we want wholesalers and retailers to recognise the influential benefit of their involvement and the reputational risk of not adapting in line with recent policy change.

Healthier products on offer at Bestway, Croydon
Healthier products on offer at Bestway, Croydon
Promotional tactics to promote healthier options
Promotional tactics to promote healthier options

Connection to our strategy

Our streets strand aims to drive improvements to food environments so that nutritious, affordable food is positioned centre-stage.

We know that convenience stores contribute to families’ food shopping and are seeking to understand their role in improving the food environment for local people who have a reliance on these stores for their daily needs. We’ve seen this reliance increase since the start of the pandemic, with residents choosing to shop local at convenience stores more for their weekly needs.

As a route to this, wholesalers have a central role to play in the supply of food and drink offers to these retailers.

More about Rice Marketing

Rice Marketing is an independent retail marketing consultancy who specialise in promoting healthier food environments via wholesalers and retailers.

Visit the Rice Marketing site
Rebecca Sunter

Have any questions about our partnership with Rice Marketing?

Rebecca Sunter leads our work with Rice Marketing.

Contact Rebecca to find out more