What We Do: In Corner Stores

Working with students and communities to teach healthy snacking and improve fresh food access

The Issue

In communities that lack supermarkets, families depend on corner stores for food purchases. The choices at these stores are often limited to packaged food and very little, if any, fresh produce. Corner stores are also frequent destinations for children, many of whom stop daily on the way to and from school for snacks. A study published in Pediatrics found that the average Philadelphia student purchases more than 350 calories on each visit to the corner store – and 29 percent of them shop at corner stores twice a day, five days a week, consuming almost a pound worth of additional calories each week.

The Food Trust Solution

In 2004, The Food Trust piloted the Healthy Corner Store Initiative to motivate youth and adults to purchase healthier items through classroom education and direct marketing in the corner stores.

In the years following The Food Trust’s pilot project, the Healthy Corner Store Initiative grew steadily and substantially, working to increase the availability and awareness of healthy foods in corner stores in Philadelphia through a multifaceted approach including:

  • Increasing store capacity to sell and market healthy items in order to improve healthy options in communities
  • Training and offering technical assistance to store owners to provide the skills to make healthy changes profitable
  • Marketing healthy messages to youth and adults to encourage healthy eating choices
  • Hosting in-store community nutrition education lessons
  • Educating youth in schools near targeted corner stores to reinforce healthy messages and provide nutrition education through the Snackin’ Fresh program
  • Linking corner store owners to community partners, local farmers and fresh food suppliers to create and sustain healthy corner stores.
  • Offering free blood pressure checks and referrals by a Jefferson University health care provider to customers in select corners stores.
     

In partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Health's Get Healthy Philly initiative, The Food Trust expanded the Philadelphia Healthy Corner Store Network to more than 600 corner stores. The Food Trust also has expanded the Healthy Corner Store Initiative to Camden, New Jersey, and Norristown, Pennsylvania, and has consulted with communities across the country to provide technical assistance and training to support similar healthy corner store programs.

The Food Trust also founded and convenes the National Healthy Corner Store Network.

Resources

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Healthier Corner Stores: Positive Impacts, Profitable Changes

Corner stores — often thought of as a source of unhealthy foods — can be key partners in the effort to improve access to healthy, affordable foods. Evaluation by The Food Trust and Econsult Corporation has shown that the corner stores in Philadelphia that have introduced healthier produce to store shelves have resulted in healthier choices, healthier businesses and healthier communities.

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Healthy Corner Store Initiative Sell Healthy Guide

This guide will help corner store owners learn how to sell healthy foods, increase sales and attract more customers.

It offers ideas that can help improve:
Healthy product selection
Marketing, pricing and display
Equipment and refrigeration

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Philadelphia's Healthy Corner Stores, 2010-2012

This report reviews the Healthy Corner Store Initiative, a successful model for increasing the availability of healthy food in corner stores. The Healthy Corner Store Initiative builds relationships with store owners and asks them to make gradual changes with support and training. With this assistance, store owners are willing to sell healthy products and believe these changes can be sustainable and profitable.

Contact

For more information, contact .