Start Date: October 2020

ID #: CAS067

Organization: Johns Hopkins University

Project Lead: Joel Gittelsohn

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The study goals and objectives are: 1) To conduct mixed methods research to construct case studies in 7 diverse healthy food-focused retail food stores located in low-income communities throughout the United States; 2) To understand experiences of these stores in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, including strengths and vulnerabilities; and 3) To conduct a cross-case analysis to understand common strategies for success, and challenges experienced by these stores, eliciting strategies for store survival under usual conditions of food insecurity, as well as under the circumstances of the pandemic. Methods used to construct the case studies will include in-depth interviews with store staff and other key stakeholders, direct observations of food stocking and prices and store sales records (where allowable). An aggregate cross-case analysis will be conducted to elucidate challenges, and present common as well as novel solutions. A specific focus of these analyses will center on identifying vulnerabilities and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Results will be used to develop a toolkit that can be used to develop successful new healthy food stores in low-income communities or to reformulate existing stores, with the goal of improving healthy food access for low-income families.

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