Friday, November 15, 2013

Sprout Homegrown in Healthy Foods

Chicago-based consultant Mari Gallagher, who is credited with popularizing the term “food desert,” sees more oases on the horizon, according to a National Retail Federation Stores posting.
     A food desert is a low-income community with such limitations on access to healthy foods that the residents suffer from poor nutrition. The most popular way to establish an oasis has been to persuade a large grocery retailer to build a store in the deprived community. Tax incentives and, more recently, crime control initiatives have been part of the persuasion mix.
     But having healthy food available has not panned out often enough in getting the residents to buy and prepare the offerings. One promising way to build interest is to encourage families to plant their own gardens as a family project. It’s not that what they grow in urban gardens is likely to be enough to fulfill their dietary needs. Rather, the rationale is that the projects will produce in the family members an interest in produce. The vegetables and fruits gain homegrown sentiment.
     Further, in communities where retailers of all sorts feature health benefits in their advertising and marketing, consumers are more likely to seek out healthy foods. This is the homegrown appeal from a different angle.
     And for the true homegrown advantage, acknowledge how the expectations of shoppers in low-income communities are similar to and differ from expectations of those in higher-income communities. Research findings from RTI International in North Carolina and George Washington University support what we’d expect: Low-income shoppers want cleanliness and convenience. Potential customers in low-income areas say they hesitate entering stores where there are people drinking alcohol outside, where they’d have to walk deep into the store to reach the healthy offerings, or where those offerings aren’t displayed attractively. Minimize these obstacles.
     In other ways, shoppers in low-income communities differ from those in higher-income neighborhoods. Researchers at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Oregon Health and Science University, University of Massachusetts, and University of Alabama-Birmingham looked at whether having lots of Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) in a neighborhood was related to the consumption of less healthy foods. For men in low-income neighborhoods, a higher density of QSRs was related to less healthy eating. There was no relationship for low-income women or with consumers of either gender in middle- and high-income neighborhoods.
     Consider women as homegrown agents of change and men as targets of change in food deserts.

Click below for more: 
Quench a Thirst for Health in Food Deserts 
Reexamine Retail Redlining Temptations 
Nurture Healthy Retailing Using Human Nature

No comments:

Post a Comment