COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND THE INFLUENCE OF NEW FOOD RETAIL SOURCES ON THE PRICE AND AVAILABILITY OF NUTRITIOUS FOOD

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ABSTRACT

Studies have demonstrated links between the accessibility of food and multiple health outcomes. Policymakers engaged in local community development may use public health concerns as a strategy to procure funding for food retail initiatives. Few studies to date have demonstrated the impact that a new food retailer can have on geographic and economic access to nutritious food in a community, evidence which could support the case for new food retail. This paper examines the price and availability of food before and after the opening of two new grocery stores in a former food desert in Flint, Michigan. The results indicate a substantial improvement in both geographic and economic food accessibility, and show no statistical difference between prices at average grocery stores and the new stores. Discussion suggests that investment in poorer neighborhoods can be beneficial to the local population and the community at large by creating a local multiplier effect through increased spending in the community.

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