Improving access to healthy food has been identified by the Institute of Medicine, CDC and other national and scientific authorities as a strategy for local governments to help prevent obesity.
In the Fall of 2014, the City of Minneapolis revised an ordinance requiring all stores with grocery licenses to carry a wide array of healthy foods and beverages in order to better align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and stocking requirements for WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program vendors.
To date, Minneapolis is the only city in the U.S. to have a policy of this kind in place. This type of policy action may have an important impact on food access, particularly in under-served neighborhoods and small food stores that do not currently stock these types of items. This policy is expected to have the greatest impact on small-scale food retailers, such as corner stores and convenience stores, as well as non-traditional food retailers, such as gas-marts, dollar stores and pharmacies.
The purpose of this STaple foods ORdinance Evaluation (STORE) study, therefore, is to evaluate the impact of this local policy change (i.e., the Minneapolis Staple Foods Ordinance) that establishes minimum stocking criteria for a wide array of healthy foods as a requirement of food store licensing.
In this study, the impact of the Minneapolis Staple Foods Ordinance will be evaluated by assessing objectively measured changes in:
- Food environments among small- to mid-sized, urban food stores, including availability, promotion, advertising, quality, price, and placement of both healthy and unhealthy foods and beverages
- Nutritional quality of consumer purchases at small- to mid-sized food stores, including assessment of energy density and calories via customer intercept surveys and direct observation of purchases
- Home food environments, including availability of healthy and unhealthy foods/beverages and an overall home food obesogenicity score, among households that frequently shop at small- to mid-sized food stores.
These changes are being assessed pre-policy implementation, as well as 4-, 12- and 24-months post-policy implementation, in two Minnesota cities: Minneapolis and St. Paul (the control community).
Collaboration with the Minneapolis Health Department
This research would not be possible without the collaborative efforts in place with the Minneapolis Health Department. To learn more about the involvement with the Minneapolis Health Department in regard to this policy, please visit: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/health/living/eating/staple-foods
In particular, Ms. Kristen Klingler and Ms. Nora Gordon, who work with the Healthy Living Initiative at the Minneapolis Health Department, have been critical partners in these efforts. For more information on the work done by the Healthy Living Initiative, please visit: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/health/living/index.htm
This policy impact evaluation is funded by the National Institutes of Health (Grants 1R01DK104348-01A1, U54-HD070725 and 5R25CA057711) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (3U48DP005022-01S1) through the NOPREN (Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network). For more information on NOPREN, please visit: http://nopren.org
Early support from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) Faculty Interactive Research Program at the University of Minnesota allowed us to set the stage for this large-scale funding (much of which was not available until after the revised ordinance was passed) and build infrastructure so that we were poised to conduct this large-scale policy evaluation at the appropriate point in time.
- Invited presentation: Melissa Laska. “Informing efforts to promote healthy corner store purchasing: The Minneapolis experience.” National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) Workshop: “Exploring Ways to Nudge Healthy Purchases Among SNAP Shoppers.” July 2014.
- Invited presentation: Melissa Laska. “Improving access to healthy foods in underserved communities: The role of corner stores.” Cornell University; Janet Clay White Endowed Lecture Series. [Also a live and archived webinar series broadcast to Cornell Cooperative Extension Agents across New York state.] September 2014.
- Laska MN, Pelletier J, Caspi C, Harnack L, Klingler K, Beatty T, Erickson D. “Evaluating the impact of a local staple food ordinance on fruit and vegetable availability.” Oral presentation at Obesity Week. November 2014.
- Laska MN, Caspi C, Pelletier J, Friebur R, Harnack L. “Assessment of healthy food availability in small- to mid-sized SNAP-participating retailers in the U.S.: The need for supply-side policies to help improve dietary quality in low-income customers.” Oral presentation at the ISBNPA Annual Meeting. June 2015.
- Klingler K, Caspi CE, Gordon N, Pelletier JE, Laska MN. “Adoption of the Minneapolis Staple Foods Ordinance: A novel policy to improve healthy food availability in small food stores.” Presented at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. November 2015.
- Barnes TL, Pelletier JE, Erickson DJ, Caspi CE, Harnack LJ, Laska MN. “Healthfulness of Food Advertising and Product Placement in Small Urban Food Stores.” Poster presentation at The Obesity Society Annual Meeting. November 2015.
- Laska MN. “Evaluating the Minneapolis Staple Foods Ordinance.” Presented at the Urban Sustainability Directors Network-funded Peer Learning Exchange Program between representatives from the City of Minneapolis and the City of Baltimore, MD. March 2016.
- Laska MN, Caspi C, Harnack L, Erickson D. “Impact of a Local Staple Foods Ordinance on Healthy Food Access.” Presented at the NOPREN Annual Meeting. March 2016.
- Caspi CE, Laska MN, Pelletier JE, Lenk K, Barnes TL, Harnack L, Erickson DJ. “Customer purchases in small, non-traditional urban food retailers.” Presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting. March 2016.
- Caspi CE, Laska MN, Pelletier JE, Lenk K, Barnes TL, Harnack L, Erickson D, Klingler K. “What role do small and non-traditional food retailers play in the urban food environment? Baseline findings from the Staple Foods Ordinance Evaluation (STORE) study.” Presented at the Program in Health Disparities Research, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. May 2016.
- Caspi CE, Laska MN, Harnack L, Erickson D, Klingler K, Lenk K, Pelletier J. “The Minneapolis Staple Foods Ordinance: Early Impact Results of a Local Policy to Improve Healthy Food Availability in Small Food Stores.” Presented at The Obesity Society Annual Meeting. October 2016.
- Laska MN, Caspi C, Harnack L, Erickson D. “Impact of a Local Staple Foods Ordinance on Healthy Food Access.” Presented at the NOPREN Annual Meeting. April 2017.
- Caspi C. “Evaluating Natural Experiments in the Real World.” Presented at the HER/NOPREN Annual Meeting. April 2017.
- Laska MN, Klingler K. “Partnership to evaluate the Minneapolis Staple Foods Ordinance.” UMN Prevention Research Center Site Visit for Congressman Keith Ellison. Minneapolis, MN. August 2017.
- Laska MN. “Minimum stocking requirements in retail food stores: Updates from the Minneapolis Staple Foods Ordinance Evaluation Study.” Presentation on the monthly NOPREN conference call. September 2017.
- Caspi CE, Laska MN, Harnack L, Erickson D, Klingler K, Lenk K. “The Minneapolis Staple Foods Ordinance: Post-Implementation Compliance with the Minneapolis Staple Foods Ordinance in High-Risk Stores.” Presented at the APHA Annual Meeting, November 2017.
- Laska MN, Caspi CE, Pelletier JE, Friebur R, Harnack LJ. Lack of Healthy Food in Small-Size to Mid-Size Retailers Participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Minneapolis–St. Paul, Minnesota, 2014. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2015 Aug 27;12:E135. Can be found online: doi: 10.5888/pcd12.150171. PMCID: PMC4556107
- Caspi CE, Pelletier JE, Harnack L, Erickson DJ, Laska MN. Differences in healthy food supply and stocking practices between small grocery stores, gas-marts, pharmacies and dollar stores. Public Health Nutrition. 2016; 19(3): 540-547. Can be found online: doi: 10.1017/S1368980015002724. PMCID: PMC4744095
- Laska MN. Limited availability of healthy foods in small- to mid-sized SNAP-authorized food retailers. The Global Fruit and Vegetable Newsletter, Agency for the Research and Information on Fruits and Vegetables. Number 13. September 2016. No PMCID required.
- Pelletier JE, Caspi CE, Schreiber LRN, Erickson DJ, Harnack L, Laska MN. Successful Customer Intercept Interview Recruitment Outside Small and Midsize Urban Food Retailers. BMC Public Health. 2016; 16:1050. Can be found online: doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3717-2. PMCID: PMC5050669.
- Barnes TL, Pelletier JE, Erickson DJ, Caspi CE, Harnack LJ, Laska MN. Healthfulness of foods advertised in small and non-traditional urban food stores in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, 2014. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2016 Nov 10;13:E153. Can be found online: doi: 10.5888/pcd13.160149. PMCID: PMC5109932
- Caspi CE, Lenk K, Pelletier JE, Barnes TL, Harnack L, Erickson DJ, Laska MN. Food and beverage purchases in corner stores, gas-marts, pharmacies and dollar stores. Public Health Nutrition. 2017; 20(14):2587-2597. doi:10.1017/S1368980016002524. PMCID: PMC5357581 [Available on 2018-03-19]
- Caspi CE, Lenk K, Pelletier JE, Barnes TL, Harnack L, Erickson DJ, Laska MN. Association between store food environment and customer purchases in small grocery stores, gas-marts, pharmacies and dollar stores. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2017 Jun 5;14(1):76. Can be found online: doi: 10.1186/s12966-017-0531-x. PMCID: PMC5460502
- Lenk KM, Caspi CE, Harnack L, Laska MN. Customer characteristics and shopping patterns associated with healthy and unhealthy purchases at small and non-traditional food stores. Journal of Community Health. 2017 Jun 14. Can be found online: doi: 10.1007/s10900-017-0389-5. [Epub ahead of print] NIHMSID: NIHMS885184; PMID: 28616707
- Caspi CE, Pelletier JE, Harnack LJ, Erickson DJ, Lenk K, Laska MN. Pricing of staple foods at supermarkets versus small food stores in an urban area. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2017, 14(8), 915. Can be found online at: doi:10.3390/ijerph14080915. PMCID: PMC5580618