Healthy eating a primary issue in Biggar

Donna and Bruce Morgan

Biggar Best-one retailers Bruce and Donna Morgan played host to kids from the local primary school in December as part of a Healthy Living drive to expose the kids to a wider, healthier range of foods.

by Simon Walton

Best-one retailer Donna Morgan’s son is to blame for getting her involved with the latest development in the SGF Healthy Living Programme. Speaking from outside her busy Brownlie’s store on Biggar high street, she explains: “We’ve been in the store for over a decade but we took over the post office four years ago, and, on one of our visits to the local school, my son, who’s a pupil there, just told everyone that now they could post their letter to Santa at our shop. Needless to say, the pre-Christmas annual visit by the P1 class has become a tradition ever since.”

As a result, Donna and her husband Bruce now have the local primary one pupils over to the store at the start of December for a tour. That little act of local community engagement has blossomed into a strong relationship with the local school and was enhanced by some new activity in December with the SGF Healthy Living team.

Healthy living days

The retail couple worked with SGF Healthy Living development manager for the west, Yvonne MacDonald, to run a Healthy Living event at the same time as the Christmas letter visit – and it proved a huge success for all concerned.

Designed to be a smaller version of the well known ‘Big Breakfast’ format, the new format Healthy Living days are a simpler way for retailers to dip their toes into the programme by helping them engage with local schools to showcase healthier products without such a big commitment of time and staff.

Following the well-established formula, the kids tasted and learned about all sorts of different fruits and foods, and chatted with Donna, Bruce, Yvonne and some of the team from the store’s symbol group, Bestway, who’d come along for the day too – just to see that Scots children really do know their five a day after all.

James Hall, symbol development director at Bestway Wholesale, said the ethos of being at the heart of the community is something that is shared by all their members. “We have invested significantly in introducing a range of healthier eating options – including our growing range of Best-in fresh fruit and vegetables – to urge members to grow their fresh offer and provide shoppers with alternatives that will deliver greater nutrition and allow them to adopt healthier eating lifestyles.”

Fresh start

The day proved popular with everyone, and around 40 pupils left with a goodie bag full of healthy treats. For the grown-ups, there was a bowl of warming homemade lentil soup, along with the chance to try some more unusual fruits too.

Ross Kerr, who runs the SGF Healthy Living programme, says there are big benefits for retailers. “Lots of children visited the shop that day to sample healthier products and of course their parents are interested as well, so footfall increases and basket spend rises because customers are buying into categories they don’t normally buy into.”

Donna concludes: “The kids loved the whole day, they got to learn a little about what healthier eating means to them and how easy it is to do – and they had a great time into the bargain.”