Food and beverage availability in small food stores located in healthy food financing initiative eligible communities

Chelsea R. Singleton, Yu Li, Ana Clara Duran, Shannon N. Zenk, Angela Odoms-Young, Lisa M. Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Food deserts are a major public health concern. This study aimed to assess food and beverage availability in four underserved communities eligible to receive funding from the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI). Data analyzed are part of a quasi-experimental study evaluating the impact of the HFFI on the retail food environment in selected Illinois communities. In 2015, 127 small grocery and limited service stores located in the four selected communities were audited. All communities had a large percentage of low-income and African-American residents. Differences in food and beverage item availability (e.g., produce, milk, bread, snack foods) were examined by store type and community location. Food stores had, on average, 1.8 fresh fruit and 2.9 fresh vegetable options. About 12% of stores sold low-fat milk while 86% sold whole milk. Only 12% of stores offered 100% whole wheat bread compared to 84% of stores offering white bread. Almost all (97%) stores offered soda and/or fruit juice. In summary, we found limited availability of healthier food and beverage items in the communities identified for HFFI support. Follow up findings will address how the introduction of new HFFI-supported supermarkets will affect food and beverage availability in these communities over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1242
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 18 2017


  • African-American
  • Convenience store
  • Food desert
  • Grocery store
  • Healthy food financing initiative
  • Illinois
  • Low-income

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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