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Last Updated: Monday, 7 February, 2005, 16:09 GMT
Scots turn to fresh fruit and veg
Fruit and veg
Sales of fruit and veg from convenience stores have soared
Sales of fruit and vegetables from Scottish convenience stores rocketed by up to 400%, a healthy eating study has found.

Moving healthy food and drink to the front of shops and offering meal deals led to the major turnaround in consumer habits, the experiment found.

The six-month 20,000 Scottish Executive initiative was piloted in a handful of stores across Scotland.

Three hundred shops have now signed up for the next phase of the study.

The project ran from April to October last year.

Health minister Andy Kerr said: "This pilot study demonstrates the enormous contribution this sector can make in getting people to eat more healthily.

That such small changes can have such a big impact is extremely encouraging
Andy Kerr
Health Minister
"One store alone quadrupled sales of fruit and vegetables simply by increasing the space available for the produce and moving it from the back of the store to the front.

"That such small changes can have such a big impact is extremely encouraging."

The minister was speaking on a visit to a David Sands Store in Kennoway, Fife, which took part in the pilot study.

The owner said he had been taken aback by the runaway success of the project.

Mr Sands said: "Since introducing a wider range of healthier food and drink options, even we have been surprised by their popularity and we are rolling out these products to all our stores."

The study found selling less fizzy and more fruit drinks led to a 15% rise in soft drink sales and a 21% increase in profit.

Stage two

Promotions featuring healthy ranges of ready-to-eat meals resulted in a boost to sales of up to 260%.

And shifting fruit and vegetables from the back of stores to the front resulted in a 36% rise in sales in week one and ongoing increases of 62%.

Mr Kerr said he hoped all of Scotland's 5,000 convenience stores would be converted to the benefits of the scheme.

Phase two of the healthy eating initiative, a 12-month campaign in deprived communities, will begin later this year.

The project comes in the wake of research which revealed the diet of many people, particularly among the middle classes, was worse than ever.

The study from University College London found up to one-third of Britons were eating more fried food while a similar proportion were taking less exercise.

Another survey discovered that although millions of shoppers are buying their weekly quota of fresh fruit, more than half of all households throw away fruit and vegetables which have gone off.

A poll of 500 families found that the typical home spends 5.40 a week on fruit and vegetables.

However, 57% of households admit to throwing out uncooked and uneaten fruit and vegetables at least once a week.

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