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19.05.2016 | Ausgabe 3/2016

Journal of Urban Health 3/2016

A Mixed-Method Assessment of a New Supermarket in a Food Desert: Contributions to Everyday Life and Health

Journal of Urban Health > Ausgabe 3/2016
Benjamin Chrisinger


Initiatives to build supermarkets in low-income areas with relatively poor access to large food retailers (“food deserts”) have been implemented at all levels of government, although evaluative studies have not found these projects to improve diet or weight status for shoppers. Though known to be influential, existing evaluations have neglected in-store social dynamics and shopper behaviors. Surveys and walking interviews were used with shoppers (n = 32) at a supermarket developed through the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative in Philadelphia, PA. Key informant interviews with stakeholders in the supermarket’s development and operations provided additional context to these shopper experiences. Data were collected in July and September 2014 and qualitatively analyzed in NVivo 10.0. Participants described how the retailer helped them adapt or cope with difficult shopping routines and how it presented a reliable high-quality option (in terms of cleanliness, orderliness, and social atmosphere) in contrast to other neighborhood retailers. Health concerns were also identified, especially among those managing chronic disease for themselves or a family member. These issues underscored multiple points of challenge required to adjust shopping and eating behavior. In-store supports that reflect these challenges are warranted to more fully address food deserts and reduce health disparities.

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