Bestway Wholesale partners with Impact on Urban Health and Rice Marketing to launch the BESTWAY GOOD FOOD WHOLESALE INITIATIVE

A pioneering study has evidenced that retailers can feel confident that they can stock and sell healthy (low sugar, low calorie) products – AND grow their business by doing so!

That’s the clear findings from an initial study – The Bestway Good Food Wholesale Initiative – launched by Bestway Wholesale, in partnership with the charity, Impact on Urban Health, undertaken by specialist consultancy, Rice Marketing, and supported by the FWD.

The project sits alongside the Government’s current health agenda with the core aim to reduce childhood obesity, and ultimately reduce pressure on the NHS through influencing consumer shopping behaviours.

Results from the study published in a report on 26 March 2021, show that small and simple changes can have a significant impact on purchasing power, and ultimately on health and wellbeing of the nation.

Piloting the study out of its Croydon Depot, Bestway Wholesale proactively developed and marketed a Healthier Options range, ensuring strong availability of those products whilst making changes to its pricing and promotional activity, increasing shelf labelling and encouraging merchandising options for its retailers.

Taking a concerted ‘push’ approach, the results exceeded expectation on every level, proving that by moving to a healthier approach, there is also opportunity to amplify growth within retailers’ businesses.

The report shows that the volume sales of the Healthier Options 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%.

It was found that key tactics of pricing, promotion, availability and merchandising have the biggest impact when used in combination.  An additional promotional supplement was produced for retailers as a mechanism for communicating the Healthy Choices campaign where 100% of the 53 products featured were healthier products.

Results from the pilot study have already been central in a debate hosted by the FWD Bringing Wholesale Together Webinar (25th March) as together with stakeholders and the broader industry at large, the implications are considered in line with opportunity for the future.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/br9hgfxj6sc9vpf/BESTWAY%20LONG_FWD.mp4?dl=0

Kenton Burchell, Trading Director at Bestway Wholesale emphasised the importance of the study:

“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.”

“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.”

Claire Stidston of Impact on Urban Health says:

“Every child deserves access to the things that they need to be healthy, including nutritious diets. The products stocked and promoted in our local shops play a huge factor in what ends up on our plates. Trialling and scaling practical solutions to improve the healthiness of the convenience store food offer – without sacrificing taste and affordability – feels a crucial building block in efforts to support public health.”

“We are excited to launch the report from this pilot study as it contains important insights into how we can improve the food options that shape families’ diets.  The approach feels potentially scalable through the supply chain and through Wholesale to the benefit of all.  The support and collaboration with Bestway Wholesale out of its Croydon depot was a key factor in taking this forward.”

James Bielby FWD Chief Executive says:

“Wholesalers and convenience stores have an opportunity to lead a transformation in the nation’s healthy food choices. 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.”

According to Stephanie Rice of Rice Marketing who undertook the study over a 9-month period:

“We have designed an approach using a number of levers that initially show not only can retailers build profits and increase sales through addressing healthy eating in the right way but that consumers welcome the changes as a way of helping them to eat more healthily.

“We believe that outcomes could increase further once lockdown regulations are eased and we start to see more feet on the street engaging with local convenience stores as schools and workplaces open up again during April”.

The Bestway Good Food Wholesale Project will now move towards its second phase as a taskforce is set to be appointed to consider the implications of the report and how to tackle the challenges raised. This will lead to practical trials with wholesalers and suppliers.

Supported and encouraged by the FWD, and backed up by findings from the study, Bestway Wholesale is encouraging the Industry to come together in the interests of consumers and retailers at large, to agree a collective and collaborative approach that is set to make a real difference.

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