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Variation in the food environment of small and non-traditional stores across racial segregation and corporate status
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    We examined differences in consumer-level characteristics and structural resources and capabilities of small and nontraditional food retailers (i.e., corner stores, gas-marts, pharmacies, dollar stores) by racial segregation of store neighborhood and corporate status (corporate/franchise- versus independently-owned).


    Observational store assessments and manager surveys were used to examine availability-, affordability-, and marketing-related characteristics experienced by consumers as well as store resources (e.g., access to distributors) and perceived capabilities for healthful changes (e.g., reduce pricing on healthy foods). Cross-sectional regression analyses of store and manager data based on neighborhood segregation and store corporate status were conducted.


    Small and non-traditional food stores in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN, USA


    140 stores; 78 managers


    Several consumer- and structural-level differences occurred by corporate status, independent of residential segregation. Compared to independently-owned stores, corporate/franchise-owned stores were more likely to: not offer fresh produce; when offered, receive produce via direct delivery and charge higher prices; promote unhealthier consumer purchases; and have managers that perceived greater difficulty in making healthful changes (P ≤0.05). Only two significant differences were identified by residential racial segregation. Stores in predominantly people of color communities (<30% Non-Hispanic White) had less availability of fresh fruit and less promotion of unhealthy impulse buys relative to stores in predominantly White communities (P ≤0.05).


    Corporate status appears to be a relevant determinant of the consumer-level food environment of small and nontraditional stores. Policies and interventions aimed at making these settings healthier may need to consider multiple social determinants to enable successful implementation.

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