Baltimore Healthy Stores

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Categories associated with best practice:

  • Organization
  • PP-icon1
  • Community/ Neighbourhood
  • English
  • Food Security
  • Income and social status
  • Social environments

Overview

Baltimore Stores was designed to increase the availability and sales of healthy foods in corner stores located in low-income, urban neighbourhoods. To accomplish this goal, researchers aimed to overcome resistance of storeowners to new products and to create demand for the healthy food items among the stores’ customers.

Research was conducted in a small number of supermarkets and in selected corner stores operated by members of a Korean-American storeowners’ network. The stores were divided into intervention and comparator groups. Storeowners were offered financial incentives, suggestions for building relationships with their customers, nutrition education, and instruction in food purchasing, stocking and product placement. Based on customers’ recall of food intake, the researchers selected ten healthy, affordable, culturally-appropriate food items that would be stocked in the intervention stores.

The intervention was presented in five themed phases, each of two months duration. Themes included healthy breakfast, cooking at home, healthy snacks, carry out foods, and healthy beverages. To encourage purchase and consumption of the healthy food items, point-of-sale information was offered to customers through taste tests, posters, shelf labels and educational displays.

Outcome measures included changes in the storeowners’ expectations about the marketability of healthy foods, changes in stocking of healthy foods in the corner stores, and changes in sales of the healthy foods. Overall results revealed that for intervention stores, storeowners’ self-efficacy and knowledge scores increased. Stocking figures demonstrated that intervention stores had increased the supply of available healthy foods. Sales figures showed enhanced sales of some healthy items in the intervention stores, particularly cooking spray, low-sugar cereals, low-fat chips, low-salt crackers, whole wheat bread and 100% fruit juices. Stocking and sales of the healthy foods were sustained six months after the end of the programme. Although the degree of change was not statistically significant, this result might be anticipated for the relatively short duration of the program.

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