B'more Healthy Corner Stores for Moms and Kids: Identifying Optimal Behavioral Economic Strategies to Increase WIC Redemptions in Small Urban Corner Stores.
ABSTRACT: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) redemption rates have been declining in many low-income urban settings, potentially related to aspects of the food environment. B'more Healthy Corner Stores for Moms and Kids was a feasibility trial in Baltimore City that aimed to test multiple behavioral economic (BE) strategies in 10 corner stores (intervention = eight stores, comparison = two stores), to evaluate their influence on the stocking and redemptions of WIC foods. Tested strategies included in-person storeowner training, point of purchase promotion, product placement, and grouping of products in a display. All four strategies were feasible and implemented with high reach, dose delivered, and fidelity. Additionally, text messaging was found to be an acceptable form of intervention reinforcement for storeowners. Analyses to assess change in stocking of WIC foods, total sales of WIC foods, and sales of WIC foods to WIC clients, revealed consistent positive changes after implementation of the store owner training strategy, while changes after the implementation of other strategies were mixed. Furthermore, WIC food sales to WIC clients significantly increased after the simultaneous implementation of two strategies, compared to one (p > 0.05). Results suggest that store owner training was the most influential strategy and that the implementation of more BE strategies does not necessarily lead to proportional increases in stocking and sales. Selected BE strategies appear to be an effective way of increasing stocking and sales of WIC foods in small urban food stores.
Project description:Small food retailers, including corner/convenience stores, pharmacies, gas-marts, and dollar stores, have historically stocked limited fruits and vegetables, though this may be changing. We examined increases in sales, customer purchasing, and stocking of fresh and/or frozen fruits and vegetables in small food stores over time and in relation to: (a) a local food policy (the Minneapolis Staple Foods Ordinance) and (b) neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES). We used longitudinal data (2014-2017) from 147 randomly-sampled stores in Minneapolis/St. Paul, USA, collected using interviewer-administered manager surveys (measuring sales and stocking) and customer intercepts/observations (measuring purchasing, n = 3039). The local policy required Minneapolis stores to meet minimum stocking standards for fresh/frozen produce and other healthy foods. No ordinance existed in St. Paul. Mixed regression models examined overall change over time and change by city and neighborhood SES. We observed significant increases over time (p < 0.05) in sales and purchasing of fresh fruit and in stocking of fresh fruit, frozen fruit, and frozen vegetables. We did not identify consistent statistical evidence for differential change in sales, purchasing, or stocking by city or neighborhood SES. Key study findings suggest limited differential effects of the local ordinance and/or neighborhood SES. However, findings also indicate significant time trends for some products, including consistent improvements in sales, customer purchasing, and stocking of fresh fruit. Given the ready-to-eat convenience of many fresh fruits and their broad appeal, fresh fruit appears a promising target for advancing the healthfulness of small food retailers.
Project description:Widespread availability of antibiotics without prescription potentially facilitates overuse and contributes to selection pressure for antimicrobial resistant bacteria. Prior to this study, anecdotal observations in Guatemala identified corner stores as primary antibiotic dispensaries, where people purchase antibiotics without prescriptions. We carried out a cross sectional study to document the number and types of antibiotics available in corner stores, in four study areas in Guatemala. A total of 443 corner stores were surveyed, of which 295 (67%) sold antibiotics. The most commonly available antibiotics were amoxicillin, found in 246/295 (83%) stores, and tetracycline, found in 195/295 (66%) stores. Over the counter sales result from laissez-faire enforcement of antibiotic dispensing regulations in Guatemala combined with patient demand. This study serves as a baseline to document changes in the availability of antibiotics in informal establishments in light of new pharmacy regulations for antibiotic dispensing, which were adopted after this study was completed.
Project description:The multifactorial causes of obesity require multilevel and multicomponent solutions, but such combined strategies have not been tested to improve the community food environment. We evaluated the impact of a multilevel (operating at different levels of the food environment) multicomponent (interventions occurring at the same level) community intervention. The B'more Healthy Communities for Kids (BHCK) intervention worked at the wholesaler (n = 3), corner store (n = 50), carryout (n = 30), recreation center (n = 28), household (n = 365) levels to improve availability, purchasing, and consumption of healthier foods and beverages (low-sugar, low-fat) in low-income food desert predominantly African American zones in the city of Baltimore (MD, USA), ultimately intending to lead to decreased weight gain in children (not reported in this manuscript). For this paper, we focus on more proximal impacts on the food environment, and measure change in stocking, sales and purchase of promoted foods at the different levels of the food system in 14 intervention neighborhoods, as compared to 14 comparison neighborhoods. Sales of promoted products increased in wholesalers. Stocking of these products improved in corner stores, but not in carryouts, and we did not find any change in total sales. Children more exposed to the intervention increased their frequency of purchase of promoted products, although improvement was not seen for adult caregivers. A multilevel food environment intervention in a low-income urban setting improved aspects of the food system, leading to increased healthy food purchasing behavior in children.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Our objective was to pilot collaborations between two urban farms with two corner stores to increase access to fresh produce in low-income neighbourhoods. DESIGN:We conducted a pre-post evaluation of two farm-store collaborations using quantitative distribution and sales data. Using semi-structured interviews, we qualitatively assessed feasibility of implementation and collaboration acceptability to farmers and storeowners. SETTING:Low-income urban neighbourhoods in Baltimore, MD, USA in 2012. SUBJECTS:Pair #1 included a 0·25 acre (0·1 ha) urban farm with a store serving local residents and was promoted by the neighbourhood association. Pair #2 included a 2 acre (0·8 ha) urban farm with a store serving bus commuters. RESULTS:Produce was delivered all nine intervention weeks in both pairs. Pair #1 produced a significant increase in the mean number of produce varieties carried in the store by 11·3 (P<0·01) and sold 86 % of all items delivered. Pair #2 resulted in a non-significant increase in the number of produce varieties carried by 2·2 (P=0·44) and sold 63 % of all items delivered. CONCLUSIONS:Our case study suggests that pairing urban farms with corner stores for produce distribution may be feasible and could be a new model to increase access to fruits and vegetables among low-income urban neighbourhoods. For future programmes to be successful, strong community backing may be vital to support produce sales.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Discretionary food and beverages (products high in saturated fat, added sugars, and salt) are detrimental to a healthy diet. Nevertheless, they provide 42% of total energy and account for 53% of food and beverage expenditure for remote living Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, contributing to the excessive burden of chronic diseases experienced by this population group. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study is to test an intervention to reduce sales of discretionary products, in collaboration with the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA), which operates 25 stores in very remote Australia, by reducing their merchandising and substituting with core products in remote Australian communities. METHODS:We will use a community-level randomized controlled pragmatic trial design. Stores randomized to the intervention group will be supported by ALPA to reduce merchandising of 4 food categories (sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages, sweet biscuits, and confectionery) that together provide 64% of energy from discretionary foods and 87% of total free sugars in very remote community stores. The remaining stores (50% of total) will serve as controls and conduct business as usual. Electronic store sales data will be collected at baseline, 12-weeks intervention, and 24-weeks postintervention to objectively assess the primary outcome of percent change in purchases of free sugars (g/megajoule) and secondary business- and diet-related outcomes. Critical to ensuring translation to improved store policies and healthier diets in remote Indigenous Australia, we will conduct (1) an in-depth implementation evaluation to assess fidelity, (2) a customer intercept survey to investigate the relationship between customer characteristics and discretionary food purchasing, and (3) a qualitative study to identify policy supports for scale-up of health-enabling policy action in stores. RESULTS:As of August 2018, 20 stores consented to participate and were randomized to receive the intervention or continue usual business. The 12-week strategy ended in December 2018. The 24-week postintervention follow-up will occur in May 2019. Trial results are expected for 2019. CONCLUSIONS:Novel pragmatic research approaches are needed to inform policy for healthy retail food environments. This research will greatly advance our understanding of how the retail food environment can be used to improve population-level diet in the remote Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context and retail settings globally. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12618001588280; http://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=375933 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/76dbQEmwN). INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID):DERR1-10.2196/12646.
Project description:Purchases at small/non-traditional food stores tend to have poor nutritional quality, and have been associated with poor health outcomes, including increased obesity risk The purpose of this study was to examine whether customers who shop at small/non-traditional food stores with more health promoting features make healthier purchases.In a cross-sectional design, data collectors assessed store features in a sample of 99 small and non-traditional food stores not participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN in 2014. Customer intercept interviews (n = 594) collected purchase data from a bag check and demographics from a survey. Store measures included fruit/vegetable and whole grain availability, an overall Healthy Food Supply Score (HFSS), healthy food advertisements and in-store placement, and shelf space of key items. Customer nutritional measures were analyzed using Nutrient Databases System for Research (NDSR), and included the purchase of ?1 serving of fruits/vegetables; ?1 serving of whole grains; and overall Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) score for foods/beverages purchased. Associations between store and customer measures were estimated in multilevel linear and logistic regression models, controlling for customer characteristics and store type.Few customers purchased fruits and vegetables (8%) or whole grains (8%). In fully adjusted models, purchase HEI-2010 scores were associated with fruit/vegetable shelf space (p = 0.002) and the ratio of shelf space devoted to healthy vs. less healthy items (p = 0.0002). Offering ?14 varieties of fruit/vegetables was associated with produce purchases (OR 3.9, 95% CI 1.2-12.3), as was having produce visible from the store entrance (OR 2.3 95% CI 1.0 to 5.8), but whole grain availability measures were not associated with whole grain purchases.Strategies addressing both customer demand and the availability of healthy food may be necessary to improve customer purchases.ClinialTrials.gov: NCT02774330 . Registered May 4, 2016 (retrospectively registered).
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>In some U.S. states, laws prohibit sales of recreational marijuana to intoxicated customers to prevent associated harms. In alcohol markets, training in responsible sales practices is one intervention to help reduce such sales to intoxicated customers. Similar training may be beneficial in the recreational cannabis market.<h4>Methods</h4>An online responsible marijuana vendor (RMV) training was developed. Among its five modules, learning elements taught store personnel to recognize signs of alcohol impairment and intoxication, refuse sales, and understand the risks of driving under the influence of cannabis. A sample of n = 150 recreational cannabis stores in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State, USA were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial, half of which were randomly assigned to use the RMV training. Stores were posttested using a pseudo-customer protocol in which confederate buyers feigned obvious signs of alcohol intoxication.<h4>Results</h4>Deterrence of sales to intoxicated customers does not seem to exist, regardless of whether the states' laws prohibit it. Only 16 of 146 stores (11.0%; 4 Oregon stores were eliminated that were not in business) refused sales. There was no difference in refusal rates between intervention (11.6% [3.9%]) and control stores (7.6% [3.1%], F = 0.71, p = 0.401 [1-tailed]) or between stores that used the RMV training (6.3% [4.0%]) or not (12.0% [5.7%], F = 0.91, p = 0.343 [2-tailed]). In 11 visits, store personnel commented on the buyers' behavior, or expressed concern/suspicion about buyers, but sold to them anyway.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Training in responsible sales practices alone did not appear to reduce sales to apparently alcohol-intoxicated customers. Legal deterrence from making these sales may be insufficient or nonexistent for store management to support adherence to this responsible sales practice. Regulatory and policy actions may be needed to increase perceived risk with such sales (i.e., clear policy and swift, severe, and certain penalties) to achieve training's benefits.
Project description:Rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in Kentucky's Cumberland Valley region are among the highest in the United States and limited access to healthy food contributes to these epidemics. The aim of Healthy2Go (H2G), a country store transformation project launched by Spread the Health Appalachia (STHA), was to improve awareness and availability of healthy options in small, rural stores. Ten country stores participated in H2G and received training and technical assistance to increase availability and awareness of healthy foods. Stores made inventory changes; installed point-of-purchase educational and in-store marketing materials directing shoppers to healthier options; provided nutrition education such as healthy recipes; and altered the display and location of healthy items. To measure changes within stores and the potential impact on resident eating and purchasing habits, STHA used four instruments: a modified version of the Nutrition Environs Measures Survey - Corner Stores at baseline and follow-up, a bimonthly store inventory assessment, a final store owner survey, and a Community Nutrition Survey at baseline (n = 287) and follow-up (n = 281). The stores in the H2G program (n = 10) had a 40% increase in stocking fresh produce, a 20% increase in produce variety, and trends towards increasing healthy inventory. During the same period, surveyed residents reported a statistically significant increase in the frequency of healthy food consumption. Small store transformation programs can improve availability of and access to healthy food in rural settings and influence local purchasing patterns.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Nutrition labels show potential in increasing healthy food and beverage purchases, but their effectiveness seems to depend on the type of label, the targeted food category and the setting, and evidence on their impact in real-world settings is limited. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an industry-designed on-shelf sugar label on the sales of beverages with no, low, medium and high sugar content implemented within a real-world supermarket.<h4>Methods</h4>In week 17 of 2019, on-shelf sugar labels were implemented by a Dutch supermarket chain. Non-alcoholic beverages were classified using a traffic-light labeling system and included the beverage categories "green" for sugar free (< 1.25 g/250 ml), "blue" for low sugar (1.25-6.24 g/250 ml), "yellow" for medium sugar (6.25-13.5 g/250 ml) and "amber" for high sugar (> 13.5 g/250 ml). Store-level data on beverage sales and revenue from 41 randomly selected supermarkets for 13 weeks pre-implementation and 21 weeks post-implementation were used for analysis. In total, 30 stores implemented the on-shelf sugar labels by week 17, and the 11 stores that had not were used as comparisons. Outcome measures were differences in the number of beverages sold in the four label categories and the total revenue from beverage sales in implementation stores relative to comparison stores. Analyses were conducted using a multiple-group Interrupted Time Series Approach. Results of individual store data were combined using random effect meta-analyses.<h4>Results</h4>At the end of the intervention period, the changes in sales of beverages with green (B 3.4, 95%CI -0.3; 7.0), blue (B 0.0, 95%CI -0.6; 0.7), yellow (B 1.3, 95%CI -0.9; 3.5), and amber (B 0.9, 95%CI -5.5; 7.3) labels were not significantly different between intervention and comparison stores. The changes in total revenues for beverages at the end of the intervention period were also not significantly different between intervention and comparison stores.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The implementation of an on-shelf sugar labeling system did not significantly decrease unhealthy beverage sales or significantly increase healthier beverage sales. Nutrition labeling initiatives combined with complementary strategies, such as pricing strategies or other healthy food nudging approaches, should be considered to promote healthier beverage purchases.
Project description:Low-income black residents of Baltimore City have disproportionately higher rates of obesity and chronic disease than other Maryland residents. Increasing the availability and affordability of healthy food are key strategies to improve the food environment and can lead to healthier diets. This paper describes B'More Healthy: Retail Rewards (BHRR), an intervention that tests the effectiveness of performance-based pricing discounts and health communications, separately and combined, on healthy food purchasing and consumption among low-income small store customers.BHRR is 2x2 factorial design randomized controlled trial. Fifteen regular customers recruited from each of 24 participating corner stores in Baltimore City were enrolled. Food stores were randomized to 1) pricing intervention, 2) communications intervention, 3) combined intervention, or 4) control. Pricing stores were given a 10-30% price discount on selected healthier food items, such as fresh fruits, frozen vegetables, and baked chips, at the point of purchase from two food wholesale stores during the 6-month trial. Storeowners agreed to pass on the discount to the consumer to increase demand for healthy food. Communications stores received visual and interactive materials to promote healthy items, including signage, taste tests, and refrigerators. Primary outcome measures include consumer food purchasing and associated psychosocial variables. Secondary outcome measures include consumer food consumption, store sales, and associated storeowner psychosocial factors. Process evaluation was monitored throughout the trial at wholesaler, small store, and consumer levels.This is the first study to test the impact of performance-based pricing and communications incentives in small food stores, an innovative strategy to encourage local wholesalers and storeowners to share responsibility in creating a healthier food supply by stocking, promoting, and reducing costs of healthier foods in their stores. Local food wholesalers were involved in a top-down, participatory approach to develop and implement an effective and sustainable program. This study will provide evidence on the effectiveness of price incentives and health communications, separately and combined, among a low-income urban U.S.ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02279849 (2/18/2014).