Thursday, December 17, 2015
GROCERY CHAINS LEAVE FOOD DESERTS HIGH AND DRY
As part of Michelle Obama's healthy eating initiative, a group of major food retailers promised in 2011 to open or expand 1,500 grocery or convenience stores in and around neighborhoods with no supermarkets by 2016. By their own count, they're far short. Moreover, an Associated Press analysis of SNAP data reveals that the nation's largest chains have since built new supermarkets in only a fraction of the neighborhoods where they're needed most. The nation's top 75 food retailers opened almost 10,300 stores in new locations from 2011 to the first quarter of 2015, 2,434 of which were grocery stores. Take away convenience stores and "dollar stores," which generally don't sell fresh fruits, vegetables or meat, and barely more than 250 of the new supermarkets were in so-called food deserts. These new stores served just 1.4 million of the more than 18 million people the USDA says lived in food deserts as of 2010.
Source: Associated Press, 12/7/15, Food Deserts
(Maybe you think this is only an urban problem, but St. Lawrence County has seven census tracts considered food deserts!)