What's New in City Design

Healthy Corner Store Initiatives

Healthy corner store initiatives aim to expand healthy eating options to corner stores and sidewalk stalls in areas with little or no access to fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods.

Benefits & Problems Addressed

Public health improvements: Corner stores often offer a limited choice of off-the-shelf, highly processed snack foods. Dedicating a small corner to fruits, vegetables and healthy options boosts availability of nutritious foods and baked goods. This in turn helps stem nutrition-related health problems such as diabetes and obesity.

Economic boost for small food businesses: Corner stores and local food producers have expanded product lines.

Education: Shelf-level information can help educate shoppers on the benefits of healthy eating choices.

Tips & Techniques

Getting Started: Check to see if there are state and regional programs that can help. Approach a small number of shop keepers to see if they would be willing to host a pilot project. See if there are local food producers & bakeries willing to participate, as well as any local Health Department rules to follow. Work with stores to select the food selection based on the neighborhood. Develop a fun, visible branding effort.

Supplies: Depending on space available, a small table or standing shelf is sufficient. Work with owners to reconfigure space, if needed, so healthy foods are predominant. If funding is available, small display refrigerators can expand choices for prepared and temperature-sensitive foods.

Growing a Program: Based on pilot program results, map the location of small/corner stores as well as larger grocery stores to find "food deserts." Target areas underserved by larger groceries and routes to/from schools to capture students who frequent small food stores.

Hot Buttons: Breaking long-held food habits, owners unfamiliar with perishable foods.


The National Healthy Corner Stores Network

Image: FLickr/DC Central Kitchen