Food Desert Publications


Understanding Consumer Preferences for Nutritious Foods: Retailing Strategies in a Food Desert

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

Abstract

Demand and access to affordable, nutritious food are major concerns in food deserts. Primary data from Detroit, Michigan was analyzed to understand demand for fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV) as a proxy for determining the factors that influence healthy food consumption. Logistic analysis showed that those who could not afford FFV, or share food with others had a lower propensity to consume FFV and that consumers who shop frequently, eat healthy, are food secure, or are able to travel to suburban supermarkets had a higher propensity to consume FFV. Recommendations for policy makers and retailer strategies are detailed.

 

Fast Food Restaurant Pricing Strategies in Michigan Food Deserts  

Andrea Leschewski, Dave D. Weatherspoon

Abstract

The academic literature primarily focuses on the lack of access to affordable, healthy food in food deserts. However, the behavior of the fast food firms in terms of promotions and pricing within food deserts is not well understood. This study uses food desert – non-food desert match design of census blocks to determine how the pricing strategies of fast food restaurant managers in Michigan food deserts differ by location, ownership, and restaurant characteristics. Results show that while restaurants located in food deserts and non-food deserts offer similar amenities, have similar ownership structures, and have similar business approaches, higher prices are charged for select food items at restaurants located in food deserts.

 

Will Long Term Food Desert Consumers Purchase Fresh Fruits and Vegetables?

Dave D. Weatherspoon, Assa S. Dembélé, Lorraine J. Weatherspoon, Marcus A. Coleman, James F. Oehmke

Abstract

This article discusses consumer preferences and behavior at the community level. The authors utilize a unique data set to discuss the ranking of fruits and vegetables purchased in one of Detroit’s food deserts and compare them to national purchasing patterns. Then the income and own-price responsiveness by food desert consumers are compared to the national and regional study estimates.  The article concludes by illuminating the constraints these consumers face that influence purchase and consumption patterns and by identifying policy options.

 

Price and Expenditure Elasticities for Vegetables in an Urban Food Desert

Dave D. Weatherspoon, Assa S. Dembélé, Lorraine J. Weatherspoon, Marcus A. Coleman, James F. Oehmke 

Abstract

Food deserts are associated with lower quality diets and higher obesity rates. Vegetable consumption is key to a healthy diet, reduced obesity and improved health outcomes. Existing research provides little guidance for improving such food environments due to lack of adequate consumption data. This paper addresses this by estimating vegetable demand elasticities for a food-desert community in Detroit, relying on data from a natural experiment. Expenditure played a greater role in determining purchasing behavior than prices. Both elasticities were larger than the national average. Consequently, any policy that increases income or reduces prices could have a significant impact.