CONVENIENCE stores in Portsmouth have joined a scheme to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables.
The Change4Life Convenience Store campaign has been launched in the city and aims to make it easier for people in all parts of the community to get their healthy five portions a day.
Three shops in the city – the Spar shops in Queen Street and St Mary’s Road and Nisa in Hillsley Road, Paulsgrove – will now sell a wider range of fruit and vegetables and prominently display the produce for customers.
Staff will also get nutritional information and training so they are able to talk about the health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables.
The stores have been encouraged to liaise with local schools to promote healthy eating messages.
The three were specifically chosen because they are based in densely-populated areas where there are no big supermarkets and residents rely heavily on convenience stores.
Healthy Pompey – which promotes the national Change4Life message in the city – will be supporting the stores.
Healthy Pompey manager Rachel Hatcher said the project would help customers to improve their lives by making healthy choices.
She said: ‘We’re pleased to be able to support this project to increase the availability of fresh produce in these stores.
‘It is much easier to eat a balanced diet when healthy options are accessible and this initiative will put fresh fruit and vegetables within everyone’s reach.’
The scheme was launched at the Spar shop in Queen Street, Portsmouth.
Children from nearby St George’s Primary School attended the event to take part in activities and try some of the new fresh produce.
The scheme was trialled in other parts of the country and proved successful.
Stores in the north east that took part saw an increase of 40 per cent in sales of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores James Lowman said: ‘Local shops are at the heart of communities, and Change4Life’s help in improving the fruit and vegetables on offer in these stores can make a huge difference to the diet choices that people can make.
‘This scheme will bring significant benefits to retailers and their customers.’
In return for taking part in the scheme, the Department of Health has given funding to the stores to buy fruit and vegetable chillers, stands and marketing materials.