Why Don't Convenience Stores Sell Better Food?
The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan investigates the growing push for convenience stores to carry healthier produce. In the effort to combat food swamps, many advocates argue that it is easier to get convenience stores to stock healthier produce than to attract grocery stores to under-resourced communities. There are problems, of course. Convenience stores don’t enjoy the size or scale of supermarkets, making ordering in bulk impossible. And unlike the highly processed foods that proliferate corner store shelves, fresh food needs refrigeration and expires relatively quickly. However, innovative programs in cities across the United States are finding ways around these obstacles. The D.C. Central Kitchen, for instance, provides small fridges to corner stores for free and uses their fleet of trucks (which already delivered produce to homeless shelters and transitional homes) and buying power to provide and deliver produce for a low price.
And while corner stores stocking healthier produce may not drastically change eating habits or single-handedly end obesity, they can increase consumer choice and access while enabling healthier eating, and the health benefits that come along with a healthier diet.