The Shopping Matters Program, sponsored by the non-profit Share Our Strength and managed by Chef Greg Silverman, is a guided grocery store tour that teaches individuals how to read labels, compare unit prices, and compare various forms of fruits and vegetables. Tours are led by experts in the field, including culinary and health professionals, and challenge participants to buy groceries to make a healthy meal for a family of four with only $10.
From San Francisco to Seattle and Chicago, pop-up grocery stores are providing healthy options to low-income consumers in food deserts. Studies show that they can be successful in changing eating habits if quality is proritized and health education is provided.
Consumers are asking more questions about their food and where it comes from. In response, grocery stores are trying to meet consumer demand for more information and have changed the way they present food to their customers. Even McDonald’s is starting a ‘Meet our Suppliers’ campaign. Yet, price still remains a powerful factor in food choice.
Shoppers not only care about cost and proximity to fresh produce, they also want choice and quality. A study of nearly 500 residents in six low-income Chicago neighborhoods showed an increase of approximately twofold in the likelihood of consuming three or more fruits and vegetables daily per consumers’ level of satisfaction of the shopping environment.
More than a third of Baltimore neighborhoods do not have easy access to healthy and affordable foods. In response to this latest data from John Hopkins University, city officials and other groups are launching programs to provide healthy food for residents, including highlighting healthy foods at farmer’s markets, creating delivery services and encouraging more grocery store development.
PolicyLink introduces four tools addressing Access to Healthy Food in their Equitable Development Toolkit: Grocery Store Development, Corner Stores, Farmers’ Markets, and Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens. These tools address efforts focused on serving low-income communities and communities of color to increase access to healthy, fresh, affordable food.