, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 23-28
Date: 10 Aug 2010

Assessing the variety and pricing of selected foods in socioeconomically disparate districts of Berlin, Germany

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Abstract

Aim

The neighbourhood environment appears to influence people’s food consumption. Access, variety and pricing of foods play a role in the socioeconomic difference of fruit and vegetable consumption. This study compared differences in the number of grocery stores, variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and food prices in districts with different Social Indices (SI) in Berlin, Germany.

Methods

The district with the lowest SIs was compared to the district with the highest SI. The number of grocery stores offering fresh produce, the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and prices of selected healthy and less healthy food items were assessed and compared.

Results

The low SI district had more grocery stores per residents than the high SI district. Variety and prices of fruits and vegetables did not differ between the two districts, but milk and whole wheat bread were less expensive in the high SI district. For all grocery stores, selected foods with higher energy density had lower energy costs than low energy density foods.

Conclusion

Health inequalities in Germany might be less influenced by access to healthy foods than in other countries, but nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables have higher energy costs than high energy dense foods.