Hundreds of independent retailers are expected to sign up for the government's Change4Life programme in 2010.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said the success of 100 stores already signed up in north east England proved the programme to help convenience stores sell more fruit and vegetables was commercially viable.

Lowman said hundreds of retailers would join over the next year with most receiving help from their symbol operator.

"There's a move towards more produce in c-stores anyway and the results from the north east show there are commercial benefits to using the branding," he argued.

Participating retailers had seen their sales of fruit and vegetables rise by 47% as a result, according to data from the Department of Health, with overall sales up across the board by an average of 10.6%.