Variation in the food environment of small and non-traditional stores across racial segregation and corporate status

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20 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: We examined differences in consumer-level characteristics and structural resources and capabilities of small and non-traditional food retailers (i.e. corner stores, gas-marts, pharmacies, dollar stores) by racial segregation of store neighbourhood and corporate status (corporate/franchise- v. independently owned).

DESIGN: Observational store assessments and manager surveys were used to examine availability-, affordability- and marketing-related characteristics experienced by consumers as well as store resources (e.g. access to distributors) and perceived capabilities for healthful changes (e.g. reduce pricing on healthy foods). Cross-sectional regression analyses of store and manager data based on neighbourhood segregation and store corporate status were conducted.

SETTING: Small and non-traditional food stores in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN, USA.ParticipantsOne hundred and thirty-nine stores; seventy-eight managers.

RESULTS: Several consumer- and structural-level differences occurred by corporate status, independent of residential segregation. Compared with independently owned stores, corporate/franchise-owned stores were more likely to: not offer fresh produce; when offered, receive produce via direct delivery and charge higher prices; promote unhealthier consumer purchases; and have managers that perceived greater difficulty in making healthful changes (P≤0·05). Only two significant differences were identified by residential racial segregation. Stores in predominantly people of colour communities (<30 % non-Hispanic White) had less availability of fresh fruit and less promotion of unhealthy impulse buys relative to stores in predominantly White communities (P≤0·05).

CONCLUSIONS: Corporate status appears to be a relevant determinant of the consumer-level food environment of small and non-traditional stores. Policies and interventions aimed at making these settings healthier may need to consider multiple social determinants to enable successful implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1624-1634
Number of pages11
JournalPublic health nutrition
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors.


  • Corner stores
  • Food retail
  • Healthy food availability
  • Store managers

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.


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