The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is teaming up with the Department of Health to help convenience stores in deprived areas sell more fruit and vegetables. The project forms part of a government drive to promote healthy eating and tackle rising obesity.

The Department of Health will provide £200,000 per year over the next three years to help local shops, with the money going towards new shelving, chiller cabinets and promotional materials. Retailers involved will agree to stock and promote fresh fruit and vegetables – with the aim of the project being to show that healthy ranges are viable and profitable.

According to the ACS, a project co-ordinator will work with the stores to help maximise profits and minimise waste. The co-ordinator will also help stores tie in with local initiatives such as plans to get more children eating their 5 A DAY.

Phase one starts this autumn in the North East with the aim of getting 120 stores in the area on board by May 2009. The initiative will be branded with the Change4Life logo - the new government-led movement set up to help people change the way they live and live healthier lives.