To enhance access to healthier foods, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently proposed new stocking standards for stores eligible to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. It is unknown how many stores are currently in compliance with the proposed enhanced retailer standards; what support rural stores need to successfully stock and engage families in purchasing and consuming the newly stocked healthier items; and how the standards will impact child dietary intake. This quasi-experimental, multi-level community-based research trial will focus on small retail food outlets in low-income, Appalachian counties in Tennessee and consist of three intervention arms: 1) using storeowner-focused strategies (S-only) to increase access to healthier food; 2) using storeowner and family-focused strategies (S+F) to increase access to and demand for healthier items; and 3) a delayed-intervention comparison. The aims of the study are to: 1) assess compliance of SNAP-eligible stores with the proposed SNAP enhance retailer standards in low-income, Appalachian counties in Tennessee; 2) determine the impact of S-only and S+F intervention strategies compares to delayed-intervention on: a) achieving and sustaining stocking levels that meet the SNAP enhanced retailer standards; b) sales of healthier items; c) parental perceptions of community and home food availability; and d) child dietary intake; and 3) determine the most cost-effective intervention (S-only or S+F) to help storeowners stock and sell healthier items.
Testing Strategies to Reduce Obesity by Increasing Access to and Demand for Affordable, Healthier Food in Retail Groceries in Rural Appalachia
Appalachian Store Owners’ and Managers’ Perspectives on the Role of Their Store in the Community and in Providing Healthier Food to the Community
Appalachian communities have lower access to healthier food sources like grocery stores. Through semi-structured interviews with owner/managers of convenience stores in Appalachian communities, this qualitative study explored perceived roles and business practices of small food retailers using a grounded theory approach. Five themes emerged including strong relationships between stores and … More
Evaluating the implementation and impact of a healthier checkout programme at a regional convenience store chain
This study aimed to test the feasibility of implementing and evaluating a healthier checkout pilot study in a convenience store chain in New Hampshire. A quasi-experimental study was conducted comparing a 3-month ‘healthier checkouts’ intervention in ten convenience stores which stocked eight healthier items in the checkout space and ten … More
The USDA Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows SNAP participants to shop and pay for groceries online, rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 2020 to March 2021, the number of participating states increased from 5 to 47. This brief assesses whether the Pilot promotes healthy food access (using the … More