Understanding the intersection of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic location: A scoping review of U.S. consumer food purchasing

Chelsea R. Singleton, Megan Winkler, Bailey Houghtaling, Oluwafikayo S. Adeyemi, Alexandra M. Roehll, J. J. Pionke, Elizabeth Anderson Steeves

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Disparities in diet quality persist in the U.S. Examining consumer food purchasing can provide unique insight into the nutritional inequities documented by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES), and geographic location (i.e., urban vs. rural). There remains limited understanding of how these three factors intersect to influence consumer food purchasing. This study aimed to summarize peer-reviewed scientific studies that provided an intersectional perspective on U.S. consumer food purchasing. Thirty-four studies were examined that presented objectively measured data on purchasing outcomes of interest (e.g., fruits, vegetables, salty snacks, sugar-sweetened beverages, Healthy Eating Index, etc.). All studies were of acceptable or high quality. Only six studies (17.6%) assessed consumer food purchases at the intersection of race/ethnicity, SES, or geographic location. Other studies evaluated racial/ethnic or SES differences in food purchasing or described the food and/or beverage purchases of a targeted population (example: Low-income non-Hispanic Black households). No study assessed geographic differences in food or beverage purchases or examined purchases at the intersection of all three factors. Overall, this scoping review highlights the scarcity of literature on the role of intersectionality in consumer food and beverage purchasing and provides recommendations for future studies to grow this important area of research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7677
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Support for MRW’s effort was provided by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, grant number K99HL144824. BH’s effort was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch project 1024670. Funders had no role in review design, results, or conclusions. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Diet quality
  • Ethnicity
  • Food purchasing
  • Intersectionality
  • Race
  • Rural
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Urban


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