The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ben Lilliston, 612-870-3416,

How to Bring Healthier Food to Corner Stores

New Paper Explores Innovative Strategies from Across the U.S.


Corner stores around the country have used a number of innovative
strategies to bring healthier food to their shelves, finds a new paper by the Insti-
tute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. In many low-income neighborhoods without a
grocery store, corner stores are one of the few food options for consumers.

In Healthy Food for All: Healthy Corner Store Strategies from Across the United
States, IATP explores how corner stores have expanded their selection of fresh
fruits and vegetables, utilized social marketing strategies and transformed their in-
store facilities to successfully sell healthier food.

Changes in the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program will make
healthier food options available across the country. In Minnesota, new WIC rules
were instituted on August 1 that allow WIC participants to use their benefits to
purchase a range of fruits and vegetables. Stores that accept WIC vouchers will be
required to carry certain minimum quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables.

"Making healthier foods more accessible, particularly in low-income communities,
is critically important in these times of rising diet-related disease and escalating
health care costs," said IATP's JoAnne Berkenkamp. "We found that corner stores
can overcome the logistical challenges of providing fresh fruits and vegetables
through a variety of strategies. This paper also illustrates how non-profit, govern-
ment and business partnerships can enable corner stores to make healthier op-
tions available in their neighborhoods."

IATP's paper reported on successful efforts by corner stores around the country
to expand their stocking of healthy food. These efforts include: social marketing
strategies of corner stores on the White Mountain and San Carlos reservations in
Arizona and in the uptown neighborhood of Chicago; efforts to expand fruit and
vegetable selection in Hartford, Conn. and San Francisco, Calif.; changes in corner
store infrastructure in Oakland, Calif. and Louisville, Ky.; and pilot programs to
expand the use of WIC vouchers to include fruits and vegetables in New York.

The paper also makes a series of recommendations for corner stores looking to
expand sales of healthier food, including: assessing consumer preferences; closely
monitoring store pricing and profitability; addressing procurement and distribution
challenges; ensuring effective produce handling and merchandising; and making
store improvements to increase the visibility of healthier food.

IATP is working in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health and pro-
duce distribution partners to promote changes in Minnesota's WIC program and
connect corner stores with a stable supply of fresh, high quality produce.

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems.