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Corner stores, also known as bodegas, are prevalent in low-income urban areas and primarily stock high-energy foods and beverages. Little is known about individual-level purchases in these locations. The purpose of the present study was to assess corner store purchases (items, nutritional characteristics and amount spent) made by children, adolescents and adults in a low-income urban environment.
Evaluation staff used 9238 intercept surveys to directly examine food and beverage purchases.
Intercepts were collected at 192 corner stores in Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Participants were adult, adolescent and child corner store shoppers.
Among the 9238 intercept surveys, there were 20 244 items. On average, at each corner store visit, consumers purchased 2·2 (sd 2·1) items (1·3 (sd 2·0) foods and 0·9 (sd 0·9) beverages) that cost $US 2·74 (sd $US 3·52) and contained 2786·5 (sd 4454·2) kJ (666·0 (sd 1064·6) kcal). Whether the data were examined as a percentage of total items purchased or as a percentage of intercepts, the most common corner store purchases were beverages, chips, prepared food items, pastries and candy. Beverage purchases occurred during 65·9 % of intercepts and accounted for 39·2 % of all items. Regular soda was the most popular beverage purchase. Corner store purchases averaged 66·2 g of sugar, 921·1 mg of sodium and 2·5 g of fibre per intercept. Compared with children and adolescents, adults spent the most money and purchased the most energy.
Urban corner store shoppers spent almost $US 3·00 for over 2700 kJ (650 kcal) per store visit. Obesity prevention efforts may benefit from including interventions aimed at changing corner store food environments in low-income, urban areas.
The present study assessed the impact of the 2009 food packages mandated by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on perceived sales, product selection and stocking habits of small, WIC-authorized food stores.
A cross-sectional study involving in-depth interviews with store managers/owners.
Small, WIC-authorized food stores in eight major cities in the USA.
Fifty-two store managers/owners who had at least 1 year of experience in the store prior to study participation.
The WIC-approved food products (fresh, canned and frozen fruits; fresh, canned and frozen vegetables; wholegrain/whole-wheat bread; white corn/whole-wheat tortillas; brown rice; lower-fat milk (<2 %)) were acquired in multiple ways, although acquisition generally occurred 1–2 times/week. Factors such as customer requests (87 %), refrigerator/freezer availability (65 %) and profitability (71 %) were rated as very important when making stocking decisions. Most managers/owners perceived increases in sales of new WIC-approved foods including those considered most profitable (wholegrain/whole-wheat bread (89 %), lower-fat milk (89 %), white corn/whole wheat tortillas (54 %)), but perceived no changes in sales of processed fruits and vegetables. Supply mechanisms and frequency of supply acquisition were only moderately associated with perceived sales increases.
Regardless of type or frequency of supply acquisition, perceived increases in sales provided some evidence for the potential sustainability of these WIC policy efforts and translation of this policy-based strategy to other health promotion efforts aimed at improving healthy food access in underserved communities.
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