Food Desert Research


Food Retailing in an Urban Food Desert: Strategies for Success in Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Marcus A. Coleman, Dave D. Weatherspoon, Lorraine J. Weatherspoon, and James F. Oehmke

Demand for and access to affordable, nutritious food is at the forefront of the food desert problem. Food deserts are characterized by scarcity of food or if it is available, it is usually of low quality and sold at exorbitant prices. Detroit, MI is arguably America’s oldest and worst food desert. Primary data was collected and analyzed using a Poisson regression to understand the true demand for healthy food products in an urban food desert setting and to determine the significant factors influencing healthy food consumption for those consumers. Indicators for affordability, access, and consumer perception were found to significantly impact food desert consumer’s decision to increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV). This study provides justification to the fact that retailers can create strategies to market and sell FFV to the urban food desert residents and make a positive impact on the health disparities related to unhealthy food choices either due to poor access or preferences.