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Health Series: Research Spotlight

Engaging with convenience stores for healthier food provision: what works?

Based at City, the Food Research Collaboration publishes its evidence review of what works to promote healthy food initiatives with convenience store operators, and its guidance for effective engagement.

by City Press Office (General enquiries)

Today the Food Research Collaboration (FRC) based at City, University of London published its new Evidence Review on how convenience store operators can be better engaged to promote healthy food initiatives in their communities.

In the UK, convenience stores play an important role in shaping diets. They are often found at the centre of communities and in areas with few other food shops, which makes them convenient for everyone and essential for those with limited mobility due to age, disability or income.

Unfortunately, however, they are not often associated with healthy food provision. To increase the availability of healthy foods, we therefore need to engage with the people who run convenience stores, to persuade them to sell more healthy options.

However, it had not been known what works when it comes to approaching and supporting convenience store operators to provide healthier foods in their stores. What motivates the retailers to join healthy food initiatives and stay committed? What makes it worth their while?

To answer these questions, academics from City, University of London's Centre for Food Policy teamed up colleagues from the University of Warwick and Hackney Food Bank as part of the Food Research Collaboration, also based at City.

The team reviewed the academic literature on healthy retail initiatives, and then interviewed convenience store operators and the practitioners who worked with them on three healthy food initiatives, two in London and one in Scotland.

The FRC Evidence Review presents the study findings, and FRC Guidance Note summarises the collaboration's recommendations for effective engagement.

Dr Rosalind Sharpe, Series Editor at the Food Research Collaboration, and Research Fellow at City, University of London, said:

We all use convenience stores, but the shopkeepers are already stretched – they need help to adapt to modern needs for healthier foods and snacks. Our reports provide evidence and guidance  for  Local Authorities, public health workers or food partnerships who want to support the shift to healthy AND convenient local stores.

Read the FRC Food Policy Evidence Review

Read the FRC Food Policy Guidance Note

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