STaple food ORdinance Evaluation (STORE) Study:
Assessing the Impact of a Local Staple Food Ordinance on Healthy Food Availability
Project Lead: Melissa Laska, PhD, RD
Improving access to healthy food has been identified by the Institute of Medicine, CDC and other authorities as a strategy for local governments to help prevent obesity. To date, the City of Minneapolis is the only city in the U.S. that has passed an ordinance requiring all stores with grocery licenses to carry a series of healthy foods and beverages, aligning with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and stocking requirements for WIC program vendors.
This type of policy action may have an important impact on food access, particularly in underserved neighborhoods
and small food stores that do not currently stock these types of items.
Our STaple food ORdinance Evaluation (STORE) study is evaluating the impact of this Minneapolis Staple Food Ordinance, which was implemented in April 2015, in small food stores. The specific goals of this study are to:
- Assess changes in small food stores from baseline to 6-months post-policy implementation.
- Assess changes in the nutritional quality of consumer purchases at small stores, including assessment of calories and energy density.
The study assessed a randomly selected sample of 119 stores in our early-stage, pre-baseline assessments, focusing on retailers we expected to be most challenged by this ordinance (i.e., non-supermarkets; non-WIC participating retailers). Stores in our sample include: corner stores, convenience stores and other small markets, gas-marts, pharmacies and dollar stores.
After being given permission by the store owner/manager, an in-person audit was administered in each selected store to assess food availability, price, quality and variety of foods and beverages. The study also selected stores in Minneapolis and St. Paul (i.e., the control community) from which to recruit participants for customer intercept surveys and bag checks.
To complete these customer intercept surveys, data collectors stood near the store exit during the busiest hours of operation and invited all customers exiting the store who appeared to be ≥18 years of age to participate. For those customers agreeing to participate, the STORE study data collectors examined all foods
and beverages purchased by participants to record item names, types and weights/sizes.
Phase One: Pre-Policy Implementation Data Collection.
- Rapid response funding from GOPC allowed us to conduct early-stage pre-baseline store assessments in 119 small food stores, 71 store owners/managers and 81 intercept surveys with customers as they were exiting these small food stores. Through additional funding from NIH and CDC, we have been able to augment our baseline measures to include 140 store audits, 616 intercept surveys and a variety of other measures prior to policy implementation.
Phase Two: Post-Policy Implementation Data Collection.
- Store assessment data and customer intercept surveys will be completed 6 months after the policy was implemented (i.e., Fall of 2015.) Additional NIH and CDC funding will allow follow-up assessments to continue until 24-months post-policy implementation.
- Invited presentation: Melissa Laska. Informing efforts to promote healthy corner store purchasing: The Minneapolis experience. National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) Workshop: “Exploring Ways to Nudge Healthy Purchases Among SNAP Shoppers.” July 2014.
- Invited presentation: Melissa Laska. “Improving access to healthy foods in underserved communities: The role of corner stores.” Cornell University; Janet Clay White Endowed Lecture Series. [Also a live and archived webinar series broadcast to Cornell Cooperative Extension Agents across New York State.] September 2014.
- Laska MN, Pelletier J, Caspi C, Harnack L, Klingler K, Beatty T, Erickson D. “Evaluating the impact of a local staple food ordinance on fruit and vegetable availability.” Oral presentation at Obesity Week 2014. November 2014.
- Caspi CE, Pelletier JE, Harnack L, Erickson DJ, Laska MN. Differences in healthy food supply and stocking practices between small grocery stores, gas-marts, pharmacies and dollar stores. Submitted to Public Health Nutrition.
- Laska MN, Caspi CE, Pelletier JE, Friebur R, Harnack LJ. Limited healthy food availability in small- to mid-sized retailers participating in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Submitted to Preventing Chronic Disease.
To learn more, please email the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins here.