About the Issue

Without access to healthy food, a nutritious diet and good health is out of reach.

Unfortunately, for nearly 30 million underserved Americans, corner stores, convenience stores, bodegas, and gas stations are the only nearby alternative to fast food restaurants to buy food for their families. But these small food stores commonly sell highly processed foods that are high in fat, sodium, and sugar and low in nutrients. For that reason, health advocates across the country are encouraging corner store operators to sell healthier foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and dairy.

Together we can increase the amount of healthy food that is offered in corner stores, particularly in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, and help these stores educate their customers about the availability of healthy options. The best way to accomplish this is through organized programs that train and provide incentives such as grants and free equipment, to corner store owners and operators so they make the commitment and take steps to provide healthier foods. We refer to this combination of training and incentives as a healthy corner store initiative.

Securing state funding to create or expand healthy corner store initiatives will help make it easier to improve store offerings and promote good nutrition. What’s more, providing access to healthy food leads to more job opportunities for people living in the neighborhood. And that’s good for all of us.