Online Program

Evaluation of the California FreshWorks Fund Initiative: What do store customers think about their new store?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sallie Yoshida, DrPH, RD, The Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health Research & Evaluation, Oakland, CA
Mariah Lafleur, MPH, The Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health Research & Evaluation, Oakland, CA
Morgan Jones, MPH, The Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health Research & Evaluation, Oakland, CA
Heidi Skolnik, PhD, MA, The Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health Research & Evaluation, Oakland, CA
Allison Karpyn, PhD, Center for Research in Education and Social Policy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, Perelman School of Medicine and School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
INTRODUCTION:  Community residents who live near full-service grocery stores are more likely to eat recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables and are less likely to become obese. The California Endowment’s California FreshWorks Fund Initiative (CFWF) is a $260 million public-private partnership loan fund aimed at improving access to fresh food retail, such as full service grocery stores, in underserved communities in California.

METHODS:  Intercept surveys were conducted with 600 customers in three stores in low-income communities that opened due to funding support from CFWF.  The 10-15 minute survey assessed food purchasing habits, perceived constraints on food purchasing, and perceptions of advantages and/or disadvantages of the new stores in the community. 

RESULTS:  The survey sample was largely female, Hispanic, and low-income.  The majority of respondents reported the new stores had friendlier staff, more foods traditional to their family, and improved variety and quality of fruits, vegetables, and groceries in general, as compared to where they previously shopped. Around 70% of respondents reported the new stores encouraged them to buy more fruits and vegetables.  Those in the lowest income groups reported the highest satisfaction levels with the new stores, even though they did not perceive prices to be lower than where they previously shopped. 

DISCUSSION:  These findings suggest that a positive store environment, and improved quality and variety encourages healthy shopping behavior, even among low income residents where price is often assumed to be the most important factor.  Additional key findings from the surveys will also be presented.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice

Learning Objectives:
Describe two ways the new stores have positively influenced the purchasing habits of community residents. List three benefits community members perceive as a result of the opening of the new store. Explain the importance of healthy retail in low-resource communities.

Keyword(s): Funding/Financing, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Yoshida is an expert in the field of public health evaluation, particularly in low-income communities of color. I am PI for the Evaluation of the California FreshWorks Fund, a public/private healthy food financing initiative, CA4Health, California’s Community Transformation Grant, and Investigating County Nutrition Standards in California, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Eating Research grant. I also serve on an expert panel for the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.