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Communication

Healthy Food Retail during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Future Directions

1
School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14213, USA
2
Law Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20001, USA
3
Department of Nutrition, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
4
Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
5
School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
6
Department of Public Health Sciences, College of Health and Human Services University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223, USA
7
Department of Health Services School of Public Health, University of Washington Seattle, WA 98195, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7397; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207397
Received: 7 September 2020 / Revised: 6 October 2020 / Accepted: 8 October 2020 / Published: 11 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Retail Strategies to Support Healthy Eating)
Disparities in dietary behaviors have been directly linked to the food environment, including access to retail food outlets. The Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to major changes in the distribution, sale, purchase, preparation, and consumption of food in the United States (US). This paper reflects on those changes and provides recommendations for research to understand the impact of the pandemic on the retail food environment (RFE) and consumer behavior. Using the Retail Food Environment and Customer Interaction Model, we describe the impact of COVID-19 in four key areas: (1) community, state, tribal, and federal policy; (2) retail actors, business models, and sources; (3) customer experiences; and (4) dietary intake. We discuss how previously existing vulnerabilities and inequalities based on race, ethnicity, class, and geographic location were worsened by the pandemic. We recommend approaches for building a more just and equitable RFE, including understanding the impacts of changing shopping behaviors and adaptations to federal nutrition assistance as well as how small food business can be made more sustainable. By better understanding the RFE adaptations that have characterized the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope to gain greater insight into how our food system can become more resilient in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: retail food environment; food purchasing; federal nutrition assistance; COVID-19; grocery stores; restaurants; dietary intake retail food environment; food purchasing; federal nutrition assistance; COVID-19; grocery stores; restaurants; dietary intake
MDPI and ACS Style

Leone, L.A.; Fleischhacker, S.; Anderson-Steeves, B.; Harper, K.; Winkler, M.; Racine, E.; Baquero, B.; Gittelsohn, J. Healthy Food Retail during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Future Directions. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 7397. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207397

AMA Style

Leone LA, Fleischhacker S, Anderson-Steeves B, Harper K, Winkler M, Racine E, Baquero B, Gittelsohn J. Healthy Food Retail during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Future Directions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(20):7397. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207397

Chicago/Turabian Style

Leone, Lucia A., Sheila Fleischhacker, Betsy Anderson-Steeves, Kaitlyn Harper, Megan Winkler, Elizabeth Racine, Barbara Baquero, and Joel Gittelsohn. 2020. "Healthy Food Retail during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Future Directions" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 20: 7397. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207397

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