This paper presents the experiences and lessons learned from small food store interventions in four U.S. cities – Baltimore, Md.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Burlington, N.C.; and Philadelphia, Pa. Experiences from these four communities indicate that small store interventions face a variety of challenges that impact feasibility, acceptability, and long-term success. Particularly challenging issues included: understanding and accommodating the complex dynamic between program staff, store owners/managers, and customers; choosing appropriate interventions that met the needs of each community; balancing sustainability with the need for ongoing support; and identifying effective mechanisms for sharing successes and lessons learned. Lessons learned across seven thematic areas are discussed in detail. The authors conclude that while increasing access to healthy foods in small stores is viable, interventionists and researchers working in this area must focus as much effort on increasing customer demand for healthy products as they do on improving store supply of these products for such interventions to be successful.
Lessons Learned from Small Store Programs to Increase Healthy Food Access
Recent trends in food insecurity in the United States parallel population increases in obesity. Historically, food insecurity and obesity have been viewed as distinct public health issues. However, since the mid-1990s, there has been growing interest in understanding the seemingly paradoxical relationship between these two issues. In this paper, the … More
Federal food programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are the first line of defense against food insecurity in the United States. However, these benefits are often not sufficient to meet all of the food needs of … More
Assessing Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program families' online food purchasing behaviors to inform policies targeting expansion of SNAP benefits
Online grocery services may be a promising strategy to increase food access by creating systems that increase the self-reliance of communities to meet their food needs; however, there may be unintended consequences that should be considered. Despite the potential to increase healthier choices, individuals may purchase more soft drinks and … More