Healthy eating

Bestway study shows value of healthy food

A new study show wholesalers can influence healthier choices in their regions – and still grow their business.

The research project found that small and simple changes can have a significant impact on consumer purchasing, influencing the nation’s health and wellbeing in the process.

Called The Bestway Good Food Initiative, the research by Bestway Wholesale, charity Impact on Urban Health and Rice Marketing is also supported by the FWD.

And it’s one of the biggest findings yet that shows retailers can feel confident they can stock and sell healthy products without it having a detrimental effect on takings.

The findings sit alongside the government’s health agenda, which aims to reduce childhood obesity and reduce pressure on the NHS in the future.

“Childhood obesity is without doubt a growing concern across public health and from this study we now know beyond doubt that independent convenience stores and wholesalers can influence consumer shopping behaviours towards affordable, healthier options – even in low-income areas such as Lambeth and Southwark, which have the highest levels of child-poverty in the UK,” said Bestway’s Trading Director Kenton Burchell.

“By taking a collaborative ‘push’ approach to marketing healthier options and by looking to educate retailers in making simple, small changes, there is no question that this is a win-win for both consumers and retailers. The results clearly show that we can influence consumer behaviour, while also driving retailer business growth.

“It is important that we dispel the myth that retailers will be left with excess stock and losses on SKUs through adopting a healthier option’ approach – the reality is the opposite. They can grow their business and increase sales.”

To test out the study’s findings, Bestway launched a Healthier Options range and to pilot at its Croydon depot, making changes to its pricing and promotional activity, increasing shelf labelling and encouraging merchandising options for its retailers.

Feedback shows the volume sales of the range (excluding soft drinks) increased by 7,277 cases over the promotion period, reflecting an increase of 17.7%.  The combined sales volume of Alpro products increased by 21% and sales volume of Graze products, increased by a staggering 170%.

Other key findings included some significant sales volume increases of products including wholemeal breads (45.9%), fresh foods (13.4%), grocery (45.6%), frozen foods (98.3%) and sugar-free confectionery (666%).

“Wholesalers and convenience stores have an opportunity to lead a transformation in the nation’s healthy food choices,” said FWD Chief Executive James Bielby.

“Those that don’t will find themselves in the firing line of the government’s war on the promotion and positioning of high fat, salt and sugar products.

“This report show that it’s possible to make that transformation with a positive impact on profits, and we will encourage our wholesaler and supplier members to work together on a sector-wide response to the challenges and opportunities of improving availability and visibility of healthier options.”

Watch a video focusing in on the project’s impact.

Bestway FWD Government healthy eating James Bielby Kenton Burchell obesity Rice Marketing Urban Health