, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 741-749

Feasibility of Increasing Access to Healthy Foods in Neighborhood Corner Stores

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The feasibility of working with neighborhood corner stores to increase the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables in low-income neighborhoods in New Orleans was assessed. Household interviews and 24-hour dietary recalls (n = 97), corner store customer intercept interviews (n = 60) and interviews with corner store operators (owners/managers) (n = 12) were conducted in three neighborhoods without supermarkets. Regional produce wholesalers were contacted by phone. Results indicated that the majority of neighborhood residents use supermarkets or super stores as their primary food source. Those who did shop at corner stores typically purchased prepared foods and/or beverages making up nearly one third of their daily energy intake. Most individuals would be likely to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables from the corner stores if these foods were offered. Store operators identified cost, infrastructure and lack of customer demand as major barriers to stocking more fresh produce. Produce wholesalers did not see much business opportunity in supplying fresh produce to neighborhood corner stores on a small scale. Increasing availability of fresh fruit and vegetables in corner stores may be more feasible with the addition of systems changes that provide incentives and make it easier for neighborhood corner stores to stock and sell fresh produce.