LONDON RETAIL EXPERTISE
Working with multiple London Boroughs, we use our retail expertise to tackle food poverty and help improve healthier food choices for people in low income areas. We bring all of our extensive experience into creating a very simple and practical approach for local retailers, market traders and wholesalers.
London Retail Expertise: Good Food Intiatives
IMPACT ON URBAN HEALTH
Engaging with convenience stores to provide insights to wholesalers to tackle health inequalities in lower income areas
Lead by Impact on Urban Health and in conjunction with Southwark Council and Bestway
We are working with a network of 40 convenience stores in low-income areas in five food desert areas of Southwark, London, to understand the barriers to stocking healthier options. We are then sharing this insight with national wholesalers, their suppliers and the industry to engage them in addressing the issues raised and implementing a campaign to drive distribution and availability.
We are working in partnership with urban charity Impact on Urban Health (IOUH) to address the health inequalities that exist in lower income areas. Convenience stores are a vital part of these communities and often provide an important outlet for local families. It is therefore vital that we work together in a whole-systems approach to close the gap that exists.
What we have achieved:
We have increased the distribution of healthier options in convenience stores by 22% by engaging convenience store retailers with bespoke action plans that identify the commercial opportunity from stocking a range of lower sugar, fat and salt products across the core convenience categories. We delivered a trial in Bestway Lewisham and Croydon depots, with support from their suppliers, which grew sales of healthier options by over 1000%. We are now working in partnership with Bestway wholesale to develop a response to the successful London trial with the aim of achieving a national roll out.
Following on from the pilot the Good Food Initiative is going from strength to strength. We are delighted to announce that we will be working with Impact on Urban Health for the next three years building on our success to date.
GOOD FOOD FOR ALL LONDONERS
Great to see our work featured in the Good Food for All Londoners report 2023 (P26).
Lead by Impact on Urban Health and in conjunction with Southwark and Greenwich Councils
We were delighted to see Southwark and Greenwich councils win awards for their leadership in helping to improve access of healthier food at The Good Food for All Londoners awards. Our work with Southwark since 2019 has grown a network of 35 convenience stores who have increased their distribution of healthier foods by 22%. Following a successful pilot in 2019, we are now working with the Greenwich team to help them embed Good Food Retail into existing Council priorities. We are focussed on three convenience stores within the Thamesmead “Superzone” working with colleagues from business development, Peabody housing, public health and environmental health.
We are looking forward to the workshop in July where we talk more about how Councils can start their Good Food Retail journey.
“We look forward to continuing our partnership with Rice Marketing, working on engaging with convenience stores and wholesalers. Following a successful pilot, we will aim to further increase access to healthy, affordable options in convenience stores in Lambeth and Southwark.
With Rice Marketing’s unique expertise in the sector, we hope this project can both achieve local impact and influence at a national level.“
— James Shearman, Portfolio Manager at Impact on Urban Health
London Retail Expertise: Good Food Economy
GOOD FOOD WHOLESALE
Engaging with wholesalers and convenience stores to drive uptake of healthier options
Lead by Impact on Urban Health and in conjunction with Bestway Wholesale, supported by FWD
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 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, which resulted in an increased range of healthier items available in store and an uplift in sales of healthier 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 to make a case for the commercial benefit in changing what is stocked in store. We will test a range of levers, from promotion to merchandising, to impact the uplift of healthier products locally. Like wholesalers, we want to show that promoting health is not just good for people but also good for profit.
What we achieved
The interventions in the wholesaler’s pilot included the creation of a healthy choices range, changes to pricing and promotion, availability, shelf labelling and changes to merchandising. The trial found that:
It is possible to influence the healthiness of retailer buying habits. The volume sales of the Healthier Options range excluding soft drinks increased by 7,277 cases over the promotion period, which is an increase of 17.7%.
It is possible to position health at the heart of the existing offer.
The key tactics are pricing, promotion, availability and merchandising, that have the biggest impact when used in combination. For example, when using these tactics combined sales volumes of Alpro, products increased by 21% and sales volumes of Graze products increased by 170%
Impactful trials can be simple and sustainable. We produced an additional promotional supplement as a mechanism for communicating the Healthy Choices campaign. 100% of the lines featured (53 in total) were Healthier products. The national leaflet for the preceding campaign, “Big Summer” featured 212 products of which only 2 (1%) were Healthier.
GOOD FOOD WHOLESALE (SOUTHWARK) 2019/20
What was the brief?
Guy’s and St Thomas’s Charity is an urban health foundation with a 10-year goal to reduce the childhood obesity inequality gap. They aim to do this by improving the food environment locally in Southwark and Lambeth, sharing what works with other urban areas across the world. They have an important role in the Mayor of London’s food strategy and support The Consumer Goods Forum Collaboration for Healthier Lives. They asked us to help them understand the role of wholesalers in improving the food environment. We knew from The Good Food Retail pilot that retailers are heavily influenced by their wholesaler in what products they choose to buy.
What we achieved
We focussed on the area of Southwark for a local trial, using the Good Food Retail stores to understand:
their barriers to selling healthier options
which wholesalers they use and why
what mechanics could be used to influence their purchasing behaviours.
how wholesalers could promote healthier options to their retailers through in-depot promotions, depot layout, range enhancements and central guidance on new category trends, insights and new products available
We have now actively engaged with Bestway, the UK’s largest private Cash and Carry and Booker, the UK’s largest wholesaler to conduct a local trial and will be reporting on its progress over the coming months.
“It’s great to have Stephanie leading this project as she’s able to bring in her expertise and networks to engage wholesalers at a senior level.
The project is in its early stages but I’m excited to see the trials go live and to better understand wholesaler appetite for supporting local people to eat better ."
- Jessica Attard, Health & Wellbeing Lead, Guys and St Thomas' Charity
London Retail Expertise: Good Food Initiatives /Market Traders
Also known as 'The Fruit and Veg Prescription' Project - article in Evening Standard 07/12/22
We were asked by the Alexandra Rose charity to help them engage with market traders in East Street Market, Southwark, London to increase the commitment to and uptake of Alexandra Rose vouchers across the markets. These vouchers permit low-income families to afford fruit and vegetables in order to provide healthier foods for their households. We worked closely with the markets team as well as individual traders as an external support to help them understand how to grow their business and the opportunity that the Rose voucher scheme represents to them.
What we have achieved
Our expertise and knowledge of the retail industry and fruit and veg in particular enabled market traders to understand how vital and valuable their service is to local families and the charity. We were able to improve the standards across the market by instilling a sense of pride and professionalism amongst the market traders. We produced tools such as price basket comparisons to help the traders understand the value of their offer and a monthly dashboard which showed traders how many vouchers they had collected and what this represented as a percentage of the total issues across the market. Through monthly meetings we developed a real sense of trust and mutual respect. We worked with the traders to produce a new library of price sticks, which are invaluable now to the traders.
I’ve known of the excellent work of Rice Retail Marketing for many years and have always seen them as a leader in the field of activating the independent food sector to grow their market share while improving access to healthy food for their customers. When we were looking for someone to support our engagement with Market Traders in south London, Stephanie and the team were the first people I turned to.
They quickly understood the challenges we faced as a charity working in this space. They provided the nous and expertise to enable us to embark on a massive scaling up of our work, taking the retailers with us as partners on that journey, winning hearts and minds, increasing income, and ultimately leading to a better experience for market customers using our Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg Project. I would highly recommend working with Stephanie and her team and hope we can partner with them again on future opportunities.
- Jonathan Pauling, Chief Executive, Alexandra Rose Charity
Your expertise and knowledge in this industry really helped the traders understand how vital and valuable their service is to local families, and the charity, which instilled a further sense of pride and professionalism in their work. Your research and elements such as the dashboard and basket comparisons brought to life for the traders the value of their offer, and opened their eyes to potential new business eg; deliveries, wholesale sales to local businesses etc.
The traders treasure the ‘price sticks’ still — a testament to you and your team. The fact I haven’t had to badger them to use them shows how much they value them!
- Lisa York & Hannah Lilley, Southwark Council
London Retail Expertise: Markets Traders
CHRISP STREET MARKET
Engaging market traders to want to accept healthy start vouchers
We have been working with market traders since 2012 and understand how to engage with them through practical retail expertise and business support. We helped to grow annual turnover of fresh fruit and veg by over £800k across three London markets, following a successful Portas Pilot in 2012-14, by engaging with 13 new and existing market stall traders to set up or improve their sales.
In 2016, we supported two traders to register for Healthy Start vouchers. Using our unique skill set of brand marketing and customer engagement, we identified the audience of parents at Children’s Centres and engaged parent volunteers to connect them through networking sessions with the traders.
We developed campaign materials to promote the scheme at the stalls that were practical and durable and helped the traders register. The trial was inexpensive, highly transferable and sustainable.
Today, the traders report weekly redemptions of 40-60 vouchers per week.
Our relationships with the traders are also enduring. We are hoping to work with traders to reduce their 1 million annual usage of plastic bags in partnership with WEN (Women's Environmental Network).
London Retail Expertise: Sustainability Planning
WOMENS ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK
We worked in partnership with WEN to explore how market traders in Tower Hamlets, London could be supported to become agents of change and lessen their environmental impact whilst also protecting their business. We focused on the removal of plastic bags as the impact of plastic on the environment is well known, both in terms of CO2 emissions and marine pollution. An estimated 2million plastic bags are used in Chrisp Street market (London) alone. The Plastic-Free Markets project is part of the Just Fact – A Just Food and Climate Transition programme, which is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund’s ‘Climate Action Fund’.
What we have achieved
We had previously worked with market traders in Chrisp Street Market, London in 2016, to help them accept Healthy Start vouchers. The success of this project, which enabled market traders to take advantage of a marketing channel that typically resides with larger supermarkets, led to high volume redemption and established firm working relationships with the traders. We revisited the same market traders in 2021 to explore the feasibility of removing two types of plastic bags on the market: the clear plastic bags used for £1 price points and the blue vest bags. Over a six-month period, we conducted trader consultations, observational research, a time and motion study and customer surveys which resulted in a clear plan that was approved by the Tower Hamlets Borough Market Services Team.
The plan was rolled out in September, with a newsletter, laminated poster, site visits and conversations. The volumes of blue vest bags reduced by 33% across 3 markets which was a reduction of 7000 bags per week - equivalent to 39kg plastic/week.
“Now I use 500 bags per week compared to 7000 bags before. This has helped me reduce costs and that’s really important right now as all other costs are going up.”
- Market Trader
We partnered with Rice Marketing as we needed expertise to engage with market traders to co-create a solution for a plastic free market. They worked successfully with both market traders and Council teams to provide a solution that delivered an initial 33% reduction in the volume of blue vest bags across three markets in Tower Hamlets. This is testament to their empathy, resilience and ability to engage market traders and then to shape a strategy that can be delivered
- Elle MCALL, Just Fact Programme Manager, WEN
London Retail Expertise: Good Food Economy
GOOD FOOD RETAIL
HEALTHY START VOUCHER SCHEME (KINGSTON) 2020/21
The Royal Borough of Kingston-Upon-Thames submitted a successful application for a Good Food Retail grant in March 2020. Their vision being to improve the uptake of Healthy Start vouchers in the borough and to improve access to healthier options, including fresh fruit and veg. We worked with them to define and deliver the first two stages of their plan. Starting with a food desert map to identify areas of the borough where access to healthy, affordable food was more difficult due to there being no supermarket chains offering competitive prices in the area. Then highlight strategically important convenience stores that serve as the primary store for low-income families and engage them to stock Healthy Start vouchers as well as healthier options in-store.
What we achieved
The key to the success of this pilot was ensuring clear communication; both to consumers that they can use the vouchers locally and of the benefits to the retailer by belonging to the scheme, to position the health campaign in a way that shows the commercial value. Using a Healthy Basket model to identify which products should be promoted and how to use commercial strategy to do this to bring benefit to the retailer and the consumer. The trail received widespread publicity and retailers were engaged and wanted to continue the scheme.
Sales of healthier items grew between 27-34%
GOOD FOOD RETAIL PILOT (GREENWICH) 2020
As part of the vision for the Royal Borough of Greenwich's good food retail plan we worked with local business to offer a range of healthier food items, increase sales, accept Healthy Start food vouchers and support improvements to the food environment. Convenience stores are recognised as important settings to help address food poverty and were identified as stores which are accessed by those on a low income in the Food Poverty Assessment (2016). Whilst the borough has clear action plans relating to food insecurity and the food environment, work to support convenience stores has historically proved challenging. We successfully applied for a Good Food Retail Pilot grant in March 2020 which gave us the opportunity to connect the expertise of Rice Marketing to our GFiG network and then embed the good practice into our Food Environments contract and Good Food Retail Plan.
What we achieved
The interventions in the retail pilot scheme included the creation of a healthy choices range, changes to pricing and promotion, availability, shelf labelling and changes to merchandising. The trial found that:
Impactful trials can be simple and sustainable
By working in partnership with Public Health, Economic Development and Communications, it is possible to develop an effective campaign for retailers to show that promoting healthier lines is good for business
The key tactics are pricing, promotion, availability and merchandising, which have the biggest impact when used in combination
Availability increased as a result of the trial. Of the 39 healthy basket lines, Dadoo increased availability from 67% to74%. Expo increased from 74% to 77%. Expo already had good availability at 95% which remained unchanged.
GOLBORNE SHOP HEALTHY PROJECT (2019)
Engaging convenience stores in deprived areas to sell healthier foods
In April 2019, we were commissioned to run a Shop healthy programme as part of a wider Go Golborne initiative to reduce childhood obesity in a deprived area of North Kensington.
We engaged with the three local convenience stores who serve this community and over a 12-month period, encouraged them to stock healthier options across a wide range of categories in-store, connected them with the local community and recognised them as Shop Healthy retailers for the commitment they made.
The results were 100 additional new lines, a 4% sales growth and a commitment from each of the retailers to continue their focus on stocking healthier lines. 18 months later and these lines are still stocked with new variants and categories also introduced as retailers see the commercial benefit of shopping healthier.
It has been a pleasure working with Stephanie and the team to deliver an innovative project to support food businesses across North Kensington to stock and promote healthier products. They used their considerable expertise in retail sector to carefully shape plans and effectively engage retailers, ensuring that the work delivers on public health outcomes whilst also providing tangible benefits to the participating businesses.
- Ellie Lewis, Bi-Borough Change4Life Programme Manager, Public Health
"I really benefitted from the category advice I received; I value the advice on what’s new in my categories and I would like to see more of that. The healthy campaign has been good for business and I feel more connected to the community. It has helped to stem the decline in my sales due to increased competition."
- Mr Sarna, Retailer, Costcutter, 17 Golborne Rd
London Retail Expertise: Improving the food environment
DIVERSE FINE FOODS
As the Coronavirus crisis hit, it quickly became clear that the number of vulnerable people who could not access food was far higher than any of the existing structures supporting food insecurity could cope with. We helped Southwark create a generic shopping list and, through the Good Food Wholesale network, connected them with Bestway, the UK’s largest private Cash and Carry to access stock at lowest wholesale prices. Despite very limited availability, Bestway fulfilled an initial order of just under 3000 cases in less than three days which has gone on to feed 1200 vulnerable people for the next four-eight weeks.
This model is being promoted as a solution to ensuring a diverse food supply in London and nationally and an answer for dealing with the exceptional volumes of people needing help. Sustain co-authored and published the report below.
We have helped promote this to The London Strategic Co-ordination Group and Sustain’s co-ordinator catch up with an audience of 40-50 key partners working on food provision during the crisis.
THE BERMONDSEY BLUE BID & PEDIVAN
We were asked by The Bermondsey Blue BID to support 15 High Street businesses to develop 12-month business plans one week before the UK lockdown was announced. We quickly adapted the brief to become a vital support network for these businesses. Within one week, we had created a Whatsapp support group for business owners to share their experiences and developed an online survey which was distributed to all BID members to assess the impact of COVID-19 on their business. We conducted phone interviews with each business to agree a High Street strategy. This focussed on three key objectives.
1. Keeping businesses safe
We produced a suite of point of sale materials that were printed for free by one of the BID members and distributed them to local businesses. We produced a dedicated page on the Bermondsey Blue BID website for COVID-19 and highlighted every business that was open. We helped businesses access all available Government funding
2. Move businesses who are closed to online
We are identifying a strategy for each business to promote their business online. This is in the form of a business questionnaire. We will review their existing social offer, identify the gaps and help them create a compelling online offer to have them ready for the new normal.
3. Supporting businesses that are closed.
We checked that all eligible businesses had applied for funding and spoke to those who had not submitted an application. We agreed to not chase the levy to give owners the opportunity to re-open.
4. Home Delivery
Business owners identified this as a clear benefit. Within two weeks, we had launched a service in partnership with Pedivan to offer FREE same day deliveries using zero carbon emission cargo bikes to local postcodes. After three weeks, we have 5 members signed up, delivering circa £600 per week of additional sales to customers.
HIGH STREET RECOVERY - WHEN LOCKDOWN HIT
COVID-19 has shaken businesses out of complacency but also given rise to many opportunities for long-term growth provided local businesses are bold enough to adapt. With the sudden loss of existing customers, many have been forced to react quickly to their new situation and find new routes to market. This has led to a fast-tracking of existing trends, especially the growth in online shopping by at least 3 years. This is no more evident than in South Bermondsey High Street, home to The Bermondsey Blue BID and its 96 High Street members.
Instead of stopping the project when lockdown hit, we adapted quickly and within two days had set up a peer-to-peer support group via Whatsapp to provide local businesses with a support network. Businesses had been affected differently by the crisis and we adapted our advice accordingly from customer communication, applying for grants and loans to helping businesses go online. Using Online Marketing, Online Food Delivery Services and Home Delivery options many businesses were able to generate more income than they had before lockdown and created revenue streams that will continue long after lockdown is over.
The top line results from the project:
Engaged 25 businesses in and around The High Street. 80% agreed that they have seen improvements in their business as a result.
Delivered business review meetings with 19 business owners
Launched Home Delivery scheme from scratch in under three weeks with £1300 new business per week. Annual increase £67,000
Supported restaurants and cafes to launch online delivery offer.
Set up and administered Peer support Whatsapp group for 21 members
Created content for 19 BID Directory entries to improve their online presence
Improved online marketing for 9 businesses by helping them to set up new websites and social media platforms
Double page local press ad to promote the High Street.
My turnover has grown by 30% in the last 12 weeks, with over 30% attributed to new customers who are shopping more locally. Your support helped me to understand how to market to these new customers and how online marketing will help me grow my business further. The new home delivery service has helped serve my elderly and disabled customers who were sheltering as well as offering a new channel for future business growth"
- Georgina Kennedy, Business Owner, Yaa Assantewa
London Retail Expertise: Healthy High Streets
GLA CONVENIENCE STORE PROJECT
UNDERSTANDING CHILDREN'S PURCHASING HABITS
We are working in partnership with the GLA to identify the role of convenience stores in London Superzones to understand children’s purchasing habits and behaviours as they are a key customer of convenience stores. We have conducted insight with local primary school children in the borough of Lambeth and the insight has identified key gaps in their food literacy.
What we have achieved
We are now working with the sector to share the insight and to recommend ways in which convenience stores can support their local children in providing healthier options which will in turn give the children choices.