Food insecurity, food-related characteristics and behaviors, and fruit and vegetable intake in mobile market customers

Melissa L. Horning, Bonnie Alver, Leah Porter, Sophia Lenarz-Coy, Nipa Kamdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Mobile markets (MM) bring affordable, quality, healthy foods to high-need, low-food access communities. However, little is known about food insecurity of MM customers. This manuscript evaluates food insecurity prevalence in MM customers and assesses associations between food insecurity and MM use, food-related characteristics and behaviors, and fruit and vegetable (FV) intake. Customers (N = 302) completed cross-sectional surveys in summer 2019 that assessed: food security, food availability, cooking attitude, self-efficacy for healthy cooking, self-efficacy for cooking and eating FV, social connectedness, and FV intake. Descriptive and multivariate analyses were used to describe and assess associations with food insecurity and FV intake. Results show most MM customers were food insecure (85%). In logistic regression models adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics, long-term MM use (OR = 0.77, CI = 0.60–0.997), access to affordable, quality foods (OR = 0.81, CI = 0.71–0.93), and self-efficacy for both cooking healthy foods (OR = 0.88, CI = 0.80–0.97) and cooking and eating FV (OR = 0.90, CI = 0.82–0.98) were associated with lower odds of food insecurity; negative cooking attitudes (OR = 1.12, CI = 1.02–1.24) were associated with higher odds of food insecurity. Being food insecure (β = −1.37, SE=0.43, p < 0.01) was associated with poorer FV intake; this association attenuated slightly (β = −1.22, SE=0.43, p < 0.01) when length of MM use was added to the general linear model, which was also associated with higher fruit and vegetable intake (β = 0.26, SE=0.10, p = 0.01). Results suggest the MM reaches customers experiencing high levels of food insecurity and long-term MM use is associated with lower food insecurity and higher FV intake. Relationships between food insecurity and several food characteristics/behaviors provide insight for potential targets for wrap-around interventions to address food insecurity among customers. Findings suggest longitudinal evaluation of the MM's impact on food security and other food-related characteristics/behaviors is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105466
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by a National Institute for Food and Agriculture grant of the United States Department of Agriculture ( NIFA2017-0275 ; Project Director: Porter, Subcontract- PI of the Research: Horning). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Additionally, the data collected with this grant used REDCap Software, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences , grant UL1TR002494 . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Additionally, the views expressed in this article do not represent the views of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Food access
  • Food insecurity
  • Fruit and vegetable intake
  • Mobile markets
  • Self-efficacy


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