Tasters Fried Chicken Shop in Tottenham, London has been trialling healthier options, with support from Healthy High Streets, a programme initiated by the Healthy London Partnership.
What was involved
With over a third of children leaving primary school overweight or obese, the Healthy High Streets Challenge was designed to help children and young people access healthier food options on London’s high streets.
This is led by Healthy London Partnership, in partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, Battersea Power Station Foundation Innovation Unit and Southwark, Lambeth and Haringey councils. They invited people who work and live around participating high streets to submit their ideas for helping children and young people make healthier food choices. In Haringey, over 40 businesses in and around West Green Road submitted proposals.
In January 2018, Tasters Fried Chicken Shop on West Green Road in Tottenham was the winner of the Healthy High Streets Challenge in Haringey.
Tasters looks like an average London high street chicken shop, but its proprietor is on a quest to quietly shift the eating habits of his clientele, especially children and young people. Shahid Majeed, owner and manager of Tasters, has been developing and testing a new, healthier menu for children and learning how to nudge the after-school crowd into giving it a try.
What works well
Shahid’s winning idea has just been tested over a 4 week period of trading. The first week saw the launch of the new menu for children to rival an existing menu with its fried chicken favourites. The existing menu includes chicken nuggets, chicken strips, burgers and fries. The new, healthier menu features grilled chicken, salad and chunky chips (which are generally lower in calories than French fries) in controlled portion sizes and is pitched at the same price point (£1.30 to £2.50) as the existing fried chicken menu for children. Shahid knows that this is absolutely crucial to making a healthier option genuinely accessible.
Through the other weeks in the trial, staff at Tasters experimented with different nudging techniques, including offering special discounts during the after-school rush and recommending that customers consider the healthier menu for children at point of sale.
Sales of the healthier children’s menu have been strong. In the third week of the trial (when the ‘after school special’ was tested), sales of the healthier menu even surpassed the fried food menu (189 items versus 102).
Kids’ grilled chicken menu sales – 33
Kids’ fried chicken menu sales – 93
Kids’ grilled chicken menu sales – 124
Kids’ fried chicken menu sales – 139
Kids’ grilled chicken menu sales – 189
Kids’ fried chicken menu sales – 102
Kids’ grilled chicken menu sales – 114
Kids’ fried chicken menu sales – 133
Shahid believes the early sales figures are extremely promising and he expects to see an even greater uptake of the healthier options over time. He said,
The regular, loyal customers know what they want. It will take time to shift behaviour, but what will happen in the future? Sales of the grilled chicken will continue to grow.
According to Shahid, crucial factors for success are an affordable price-point and selling something that looks and tastes good:
The main reason people will switch is because the alternative tastes good. The most important thing is you need to know how to cook healthier and tasty food.