Food shopping, home food availability, and food insecurity among customers in small food stores: An exploratory study

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Customers who frequently shop in small food stores (e.g., convenience stores) may face numerous challenges to procuring healthful food for their household, and these may vary by food security status. The purpose of this study is to examine associations between food security and food shopping-related behaviors among frequent shoppers at small stores. Our sample included participants from customer intercept interviews at small food stores in an urban area. A follow-up in-home visit with a subset of customers who reported frequently shopping in these stores (≥1/week; n = 78) included a survey and researcher-Administered home food inventory. Food security status was identified via the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Six-Item Short Form. Outcomes included shopping frequency and money spent by store type (e.g., small vs. large), home-To-store distance, and observed home availability of fruits, vegetables, and obesogenic foods. We estimated associations between food security status and each outcome, adjusting for demographic and poverty-related confounders. Participants were 56% female and 65% people of color; 45% received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and 54% experienced food insecurity in the past year. Unadjusted models indicated several significant associations: compared to those who were food secure, food-insecure participants shopped for food/beverages at small stores more times per month, spent more on food/beverages at dollar stores, and had less home availability of fruit and obesogenic foods. Associations remained significant (p =. 04) between food insecurity and shopping frequency in adjusted models. Interventions requiring or incentivizing small food stores to stock healthful products could be important for improving access to nutritious food for food-insecure persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1358-1366
Number of pages9
JournalTranslational behavioral medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

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  • Community food environment
  • Convenience stores
  • Corner stores
  • Food insecurity
  • Home food availability
  • Shopping behaviors


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