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Food deserts: is it only about a limited access?

Food deserts: is it only about a limited access? PurposePrevious research has extensively examined “food deserts,” where access to healthy food is limited. However, little is known of the buying behavior at the individual household level in terms of buying habits and consumption in these areas. The purpose of this paper is to determine to what extent other factors than access can account for the purchase of healthy food products, namely, fruits and vegetables.Design/methodology/approachThis paper proposes to partially fill this gap through a qualitative (n=55) and quantitative (n=512) study of those people who are in charge of their household purchases in two food deserts in the city of Montreal.FindingsResults show that geographical access to supermarkets is not the main factor fostering the purchase of healthy foods (fruits and vegetables). Indeed, food education (e.g. information, simple recipes, cooking classes), associated with a changing mediation process through product diversification (e.g. availability of local products in bulk) and supply (e.g. farmers) seems to be more significant.Research limitations/implicationsFuture studies could compare the results obtained through this study in different socio-demographic contexts. Longitudinal analyses could also increase the understanding of the social and commercial challenges.Originality/valueIn contrast to previous studies, the results show that geographical access to supermarkets is not the main factor fostering the purchase of fruits and vegetables. Indeed, food education (e.g. information, simple recipes, cooking classes), associated with a changing mediation process through product diversification (e.g. products in bulk) and supply (e.g. farmers) seem to be more significant. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png British Food Journal Emerald Publishing

Food deserts: is it only about a limited access?

British Food Journal , Volume 119 (7): 16 – Jul 3, 2017

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0007-070X
DOI
10.1108/BFJ-09-2016-0407
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposePrevious research has extensively examined “food deserts,” where access to healthy food is limited. However, little is known of the buying behavior at the individual household level in terms of buying habits and consumption in these areas. The purpose of this paper is to determine to what extent other factors than access can account for the purchase of healthy food products, namely, fruits and vegetables.Design/methodology/approachThis paper proposes to partially fill this gap through a qualitative (n=55) and quantitative (n=512) study of those people who are in charge of their household purchases in two food deserts in the city of Montreal.FindingsResults show that geographical access to supermarkets is not the main factor fostering the purchase of healthy foods (fruits and vegetables). Indeed, food education (e.g. information, simple recipes, cooking classes), associated with a changing mediation process through product diversification (e.g. availability of local products in bulk) and supply (e.g. farmers) seems to be more significant.Research limitations/implicationsFuture studies could compare the results obtained through this study in different socio-demographic contexts. Longitudinal analyses could also increase the understanding of the social and commercial challenges.Originality/valueIn contrast to previous studies, the results show that geographical access to supermarkets is not the main factor fostering the purchase of fruits and vegetables. Indeed, food education (e.g. information, simple recipes, cooking classes), associated with a changing mediation process through product diversification (e.g. products in bulk) and supply (e.g. farmers) seem to be more significant.

Journal

British Food JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 3, 2017

References