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Sustain / Well London Buy Well

Buywell Retail Project

The Buywell Retail Project worked with fifteen convenience stores in some of London's most deprived areas to encourage people to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. The stores were selected because of their location in areas that have poor access to healthy food. The project was run as a pilot from March 2009 until March 2010.

The project worked with small independent shops as well as stores that are part of symbol groups, such as Costcutter and Londis.

Buywell shop before and after

The Buywell Retail Project helped each of the stores to sell more fresh fruit and vegetable by improving quality, range, freshness and location within their store.

Many of the stores involved in the project had never sold fresh fruit and vegetables before. The Buywell Retail Project team worked with each store to offer advice on maximising profits, minimising waste, buying local produce and displaying and promoting the new fresh produce to customers.

Results from the pilot project:

  • Fruit and vegetable sales increased by an average of 60% across the fifteen stores – the biggest increase was 318% and the smallest 18%
  • All the retailers responded positively to the project.  Two key elements of success were having a store manager with good community links, and having a store manager who agreed to invest in a new chiller for displaying fruit and vegetables  
  • The customer evaluation showed that more people were buying fruit and vegetables from the stores after the changes and customers were more positive about their local store
  • Customers also reported eating more fruit and vegetables after the changes; just over half (54%) of those surveyed said that they now eat fruit and vegetables daily after the changes, compared to just under a third (31%) before

Full details on how the project was run can be found in the Buywell Retail Project final report

The Buywell Retail Project was run by Rice Retail Marketing, with local partner Tower Hamlets Co-operative Development Agency and was managed by Sustain's London Food Link. It was jointly funded by:

Well London Buy Well: Buywell worked in 10 deprived areas of London to make it easier to buy healthy, affordable and sustainably produced food locally.

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