A family samples food at a grocery store.

The most effective strategy for addressing food access is twofold. It involves partnering with local retailers (supply) and educating community residents (demand). Residents need to be informed that healthy foods are now available at your partner store and educated on how to properly prepare healthy foods and incorporate healthy eating and physical activity into their lifestyle.

The Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy: Community Toolkit provides community groups with ideas and a plan for increasing both supply and demand. Retailers need to be encouraged to improve the quality and type of healthy foods they stock, and supported in their efforts to do so. To gain a better understanding of what it takes to increase healthy food inventory, check out the Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy: Retailer Toolkit and Retailers page.

Benefits for your community

  • Community members without access to basic transportation will have easier access to healthy foods.
  • Customers, community members and youth will learn more about healthy foods and those available at the partner store.
  • People are more likely to have lower risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes if they live where healthy foods are easy to buy.
  • Money spent for food stays in the local community.

Keep in mind that it is a delicate balance between increasing access to healthy food and building demand in the community. Simply increasing the accessibility of healthy foods will not guarantee that residents will buy and eat more healthy foods. To have a large-scale effect, the increase in the availability of healthy foods in the store must be accompanied by community education and efforts to build community demand through community and youth outreach activities.