USDA releases guide for organizations to get healthy foods into c-stores

USDA releases guide for organizations to get healthy foods into c-stores

Research shows more healthy food at convenience stores increases healthier food choices.

The Healthy Corner Stores Guide provides information, strategies and resources for organizations interested in making healthy foods and beverages available in corner stores within their communities.

“USDA is committed to encouraging neighborhood stores to stock and sell healthier food and beverage items,” said USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon in announcing the new publication. “Families in low-income areas rely on corner stores because their communities often lack supermarkets, farmers markets, or stores where they can buy fresh produce and other healthy foods.”

Research conducted by Tulane University shows that the amount of shelf space dedicated to fruits and vegetables at corner stores is positively associated with increased consumption of these healthier food choices among nearby residents. (Photo: moodboard/Thinkstock)

Corner stores, often referred to as convenience stores, are small-scale stores that may have a more limited selection of food and products. Research conducted by Tulane University shows that the amount of shelf space dedicated to fruits and vegetables at corner stores is positively associated with increased consumption of these healthier food choices among nearby residents.

The Healthy Corner Stores Guide provides strategies for marketing healthier product options, sourcing healthy food and beverages, and making changes to the way food and beverage items are displayed. For example, stores could display healthier items at eye-level, near checkout counters, or by entryways, so they are visible when customers first enter the store. The guide also describes how to engage owners and community members through nutrition education and program incentives.

Encouraging and supporting the availability of healthier food and beverage items for all Americans is an important goal for USDA. The Healthy Corner Stores Guide is the latest initiative in ongoing efforts to promote healthy food and lifestyle choices by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients and residents of low-income communities. Others include:

-A proposed rule to improve the range of healthy food choices SNAP-authorized retailers must stock.

-Making funds available that help participants in SNAP increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables.

-Working to increase SNAP access at roadside farm stands, farmers markets, and directly from local farmers.

-The final rule for SNAP education (SNAP-Ed) implemented in 2013, which authorized the promotion of physical activity as part of nutrition education and obesity prevention.

Over the past seven years, USDA has enhanced federal nutrition programs, providing a critical safety net for millions of American children and families.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs. In addition to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, these programs include the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, the National School Lunch Program, and the Summer Food Service Program which together comprise America's nutrition safety net. For more information, visit www.fns.usda.gov.

Source: USDA Food and Nutrition Service

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