One Year after the Opening of a Healthy Food Financing Initiative-Supported Supermarket, Researchers Find No Change in Availability and Type of Foods and Beverages Offered at Surrounding Small Food Stores

One Year after the Opening of a Healthy Food Financing Initiative-Supported Supermarket, Researchers Find No Change in Availability and Type of Foods and Beverages Offered at Surrounding Small Food Stores

Led by a group of Illinois PRC researchers recently published a paper in the American Journal of Health Promotion. The publication details findings of Dr. Lisa Powell’s study evaluating the impact of a Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI)-supported supermarket on the retail food environment.

After receiving funding from the HFFI in August, 2015, the Illinois Fresh Food Fund opened a new supermarket in west Rockford, IL. This predominately low-income and African American community had no supermarket for nearly 30 years. Illinois PRC researchers aimed to identify the changes to food and beverage availability and marketing that occurred in small food stores (e.g., small grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, etc.) near the HFFI-supported supermarket.

Illinois PRC researchers used the Illinois PRC Food Store Audit Tool to collect data on food and beverage availability and marketing in approximately 22 small food stores before the HFFI supermarket opened (August 2015) and one year afterwards (August 2016). These small food stores were located within one mile of the HFFI-supported supermarket. For comparison, researchers also collected data from 18 small food stores in a demographically-matched area of Rockford, IL.

Prior to the HFFI-supported supermarket’s opening, the nearby small food stores mostly sold unhealthy items (i.e., salty snacks, sugar sweetened-beverages, etc.) and had limited availability of fresh fruits and vegetables. Study results showed that no significant changes in food and beverage availability occurred in the small food stores after the opening of the HFFI-supported supermarket. Given the wide variety of fresh produce items and healthy staple foods that were offered by the HFFI-supported supermarket, adding this store to the community greatly improved the overall healthfulness of the retail food environment. Community residents now have greater access to foods and beverages that will support a healthy diet.

To read the full paper, please visit the American Journal of Health Promotion’s website.

About the Banner Image. Photo captured by Fikri Rasyid, utilized by the Illinois PRC via Unsplash.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Dr. Chelsea R. Singleton is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a former postdoctoral research fellow with the Illinois Prevention Research Center. Her research examines the influence food policy and food environment have on dietary intake and chronic disease risk in underserved communities.