Nationwide Commitments To Provide Access to Healthy, Affordable Food In Food Deserts

Articles
August 11, 2011

Nationwide Commitments To Provide Access to Healthy, Affordable Food In Food Deserts

First Lady Michelle Obama revealed nationwide commitments from major food retailers, big and small to provide access to healthy, affordable food to millions of people in underserved communities, reported The Food Institute.

First Lady Michelle Obama revealed nationwide commitments from major food retailers, big and small to provide access to healthy, affordable food to millions of people in underserved communities, reported The Food Institute.

“The commitments we’re announcing today have the potential to be a game-changer for kids and communities all across this country…We can give people all the information and advice in the world about healthy eating and exercise, but if parents can’t buy the food they need to prepare those meals because their only options for groceries are the gas station or the local minimart, then all that is just talk,” stated Mrs. Obama.

Those commitments came from SUPERVALU, Walgreens, Walmart and several regional retailers and will include opening or expanding over 1,500 stores to serve communities throughout the country that currently do not have access to fresh produce and other healthy foods. The companies estimate that they will serve approximately 9.5 million people in these communities, where currently 23.5 million Americans live and lack stores likely to sell affordable and healthy foods.

The Partnership for a Healthier America secured commitments from retailers, and will work with the companies to evaluate and monitor their progress with these efforts. Decisions on store locations will be made with communities based on their needs.

SUPERVALU is committed to opening 250 new Save-A-Lot stores over the next five years in areas with limited or no access to healthy foods, and estimates that these new stores will serve approximately 3.75 million people. Walgreens will convert at least 1,000 of its stores into food oasis stores, making available whole fruits and vegetables, pre-cut fruit salads and green salads as well as basic amenities like breads and ready-made meals at these locations. Walgreens estimates that these stores will serve nearly 4.8 million people. Walmart will open or expand 275 to 300 stores, which will serve more than 800,000 people in rural and urban areas with limited or no access to grocery options.

Regionally, the California FreshWorks Fund secured $200 million to promote healthy food retailing in California. A project of The California Endowment and partners, FreshWorks will provide financing to grocery stores and other healthy food retailers and distributors who meet a subset of program guidelines designed to move healthy food retailing forward in an affordable and accessible way and prioritize healthy choices. Brown’s Super Store, a supermarket chain of 10 Philadelphia area ShopRite supermarkets, will be opening one new supermarket in North Philadelphia and expanding an existing location in Chelthenham, PA as part of the campaign.?Calhoun Grocer, a small local chain based in Montgomery, AL will build 10 stores over the next five years in Alabama and Tennessee, while Klein’s Family Markets, which operates 7 ShopRite supermarkets in Maryland, will build one new store in Baltimore, MD.