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. 

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London Retail Expertise: Good Food Initiatives


We are proud to be helping this fantastic charity make a real difference for local families in Southwark who can now afford to buy fruit and veg for their children.  Rice Marketing are supporting participating market traders in East Street and Peckham to be the first choice for families with a friendly, affordable and quality offer. By removing operational issues, creating a dashboard of key metrics and by providing traders with actionable advice on how to improve their offer to customers, we are achieving an increase in the number of vouchers taken. 

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London Retail Expertise: Sustainability Planning


We are proud to be part of this wonderful project to help market traders in Chrisp Street market  become agents of change for a sustainable and socially just food system. By helping to engage the knowledge and position in the market of these small business owners who make such an important contribution to a culturally diverse local food economy and working with them to find a new way of trading by moving away from plastic bags, they and their customers will be making their own contribution to the environment. 

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London Retail Expertise:  Good Food Economy


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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%

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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. 


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Funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’s charity, we worked with six convenience stores in areas with a high proportion of families on a low income in two areas of Southwark as part of Sustain’s Good Food Retail plan.


We developed individual action plans and agreed changes to product, range, space, layout and merchandising to increase the amount and prominence of healthier options. We were able to show a lot of learnings published in this recent report by Jessica Attard, Portfolio Manager, Guy's and St Thomas' Charity.


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“We’ve been impressed by the results of a relatively quick and inexpensive trial and are using these learnings to inform what we do next. ."


 - Jessica Attard, Health & Wellbeing Lead, Guys and St Thomas' Charity

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London Retail Expertise:  Good Food Economy


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.

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See some of the media coverage here:

Talking Retail                          The Grocer

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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: Improving the food environment


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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

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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.

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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.


 - Georgina Kennedy, Business Owner, Yaa Assantewa

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London Retail Expertise: Convenience Stores


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: Markets


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).


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London Retail Expertise:  Improving the food environment


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MEC’s client, Olaf Thon, is Scandinavia’s biggest shopping centre owner and they wanted to visit world class shopping centres in the UK to specifically understand the role of digital marketing. MEC were unable to fulfil the brief because they lacked both retail and digital marketing sector experience and local knowledge in the UK, both of which we could provide.

Rice Marketing researched, compiled and delivered an inspirational sector study tour for 22 senior management delegates, to inform the development of Olaf Thon’s strategy. This included a presentation and walking tour encompassing UK insight, with leading examples, leading edge technology, analysis of matrix of the sector, customer messaging across all media platforms and customer positioning.

The client found the study tour to be inspiring, informative and challenging, with all aspects of the logistics having worked well - in fact, so successful was it that we were asked to carry out a repeat study tour several months later. 

"Stephanie has a keen insight into the UK food segment. She is not only knowledgeable, but inspires through her market tours. She truly cares about the consumer and the retailers and making connections that will be a win-win. We had great discussions as we walked the city of London with Stephanie and have a list of ideas that will inspire innovation for our team."


—  Lyn Hochberg, Director of Product Development, Wawa

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Wawa is one of the US market's leading convenience store retailers. Insight Research asked us to distil the best of London consumer and retail trends into a day walking tour for this leading global client. We were able to plan a route that was a practical demonstration of how food and food service operators were responding to the changing consumer demand for fresh, fast, conscious food.