The USDA yesterday announced The Healthy Corner Stores Guide, which provides information, strategies, and resources for organizations interested in making healthy foods and beverages available in corner stores (convenience stores) within their communities.

“USDA is committed to encouraging neighborhood stores to stock and sell healthier food and beverage items. “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,” said Kevin Concannon, Dept. of Agriculture Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services.

Concannon made this announcement at Good Neighbor Mini Market, which carries a variety of groceries and fresh produce in Philadelphia, PA. Corner stores like these, often referred to as convenience stores or bodegas, are small-scale stores that may have a more limited selection of food and products. The Good Neighbor Mini Market has been enrolled in The Food Trust’s Healthy Corner Store Network since July 2010. The network connects community members, nonprofits, local government, funders, and other advocates across the country to share resources and best practices on the latest strategies for healthy food retail in small stores.

Research conducted by Tulane University shows that the amount of shelf space dedicated to fruits and vegetables at corner stores like this one 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 changing how food and beverage items are displayed. 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.

Source: USDA Food and Nutrition Service.