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Healthy Corner Store Toronto Model

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Presentation slides from Catherine Mah, consultant with Toronto Food Strategy, as part of a Healthy Corner Store Initiatives webinar hosted by Sustain Ontario's Food Access Peer Learning Circle held on March 4th, 2015. Presentation focused on food retail environment in Toronto and Toronto Food Strategy's healthy corner store pilot project in Scarborough.

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Healthy Corner Store Toronto Model

  1. 1. Healthy Corner Store Toronto Model Presentation to Sustain Ontario—webinar, March 4, 2015
  2. 2. The Problem  Food retail in general still dominated by less healthy foods  Many lower income areas of Toronto lack sources of healthy, affordable, diverse food
  3. 3. “Healthfulness” of Toronto’s Food Retail Darker red = “less healthy” food retail environments (1 km radius)
  4. 4. The Problem  Public Health’s mantra: “making the healthy choice the easiest & most appealing” must be applied to food retailers too  Currently very little support for independent small retailers
  5. 5. Waterloo, ON study found that females of average height (5’5) weighed15.2lbs less and had 6.4cm smaller waist circumference for every km increase in distance from their home to nearest convenience store (adjusted coefficients). Source: Minaker, L. (2013). Evaluating food environment assessment methodologies: a multi-level examination of associations between food environments and individual outcomes. University of Alberta, PhD Thesis.
  6. 6.  Compared to infrequent HCS shoppers, residents who visited our HCS pilot store 2+ times/week consumed on a daily basis:  396 more calories  852mg more sodium, and  69% more added sugar Frequent Convenience Store Shoppers Notes: Based on pre-intervention survey, self-reported. Feb 2014, (n=194). No significant differences were found in frequent vs infrequent supermarket shoppers.
  7. 7. High profit margin Strong marketing support Long shelf life Free new fridge & displays Attractive product design Hassle-free distribution Low risk High existing customer demand Financial incentives to sell more In line with store’s image No product training required Some demand for product Service to community X Highly perishable X Lower profit margins X Distribution? X Need training in product handling X Store not branded as F&V seller X Past failed attempts to stock X Funds to buy new equipment? X Change management support? Choices Facing Convenience Store Owners
  8. 8. Changes Happening, But No Equity Lens
  9. 9. PHAC Funded Food Retail Evaluation
  10. 10.  Growing literature on food environments and how they influence diet quality and health status over and above individual knowledge and attitudes The Context: Food environment research (Glanz et al. 2005)
  11. 11. Key findings in the literature to date—  Methodological gaps in the literature  Inconsistency in how food environments are measured  Poor robustness of outcome measures (e.g., diet assessment)  Mostly cross-sectional associations  Few studies include multiple environmental features in the same study  Few accompanying municipal policy assessments  Limited assessments of social context in which interventions are implemented The Context: Food environment research (Minaker 2013; Mah, Minaker, Cook 2014 forthcoming)
  12. 12. The Context: Food environment research • ‘Food deserts’ per se • Lack of big supermarkets • Big food retailers ignoring prime locations in lower income neighbourhoods • Insufficient food production, importation For Toronto, the problem is NOT The problem IS • Poverty! • Many business model, infrastructure challenges for small and medium stores … enabling policy, economic viability • Cities (until recently) don’t see food as their mandate • And more …
  13. 13.  Research in 3 lower income sites to evaluate healthier food retail models  Healthy Corner Store pilot  Mobile Good Food Market site  Non-intervention control site for comparison Pre-survey Iterative pilot interventions Post-survey Evaluation of outcomes PHAC-funded Food Retail Evaluation
  14. 14. Assets and strengths of the evaluation  Pre-post, controlled design  Mixed methods  Use of 24h diet recall (ASA24) vs. food frequency  Objective food environment measurement  Novel mobile data collection tool (NEMS smartphone app)  Proximal metrics (changes in store, point-of-sale)
  15. 15.  Shift purchases toward healthier food & displace junk food sales revenue  Demonstrate potential for economically viable HCS model  Create toolkit of solutions to support HCS transition citywide Healthy Corner Store Pilot Objectives
  16. 16. Healthy Corner Pilot Process
  17. 17. Typical HCS Project Components Source: Jessie Azrilian, Allison Kwan, Mark Linthicum & Julia Wolfson (2012). Creating Healthy Corner Stores: An analysis of factors necessary for effective corner store conversion programs.
  18. 18. Store Owners Residents’ Association Project Partners
  19. 19. HCS Pilot Site #1 (Before) “A-Z Variety”
  20. 20.  PHAC-funded pilot research
  21. 21. Challenges: Little Fresh Produce
  22. 22. Challenges: Clutter
  23. 23. Challenges: Floor repairs
  24. 24. Challenges: Not maximizing shelf space
  25. 25. City zoning doesn’t allow door directly to outside from apt building retail (but rules in process of changing) Padlocked! Challenges:
  26. 26. Challenges: No natural light inside
  27. 27. City Sign Bylaw doesn’t allow outside sign Challenges: No outside sign!
  28. 28.  74% reported annual income <$30,000  Average daily sodium intake – 3910mg  84% born outside Canada Residents’ Baseline Data
  29. 29. HCS Pilot Site (mid-conversion) “Lucy’s Fresh Food Market”
  30. 30. POS System installed (March 2014): Still challenging to get timely accurate data
  31. 31. North wall (pre-intervention)
  32. 32. North wall Step 1
  33. 33. North wall Step 2
  34. 34. North wall Step 3
  35. 35. Window opened up
  36. 36. Price Labels
  37. 37. Participation at Community events Community Engagement Work
  38. 38. Nearby community agency support:  Links to resident groups  Local program connections  Community outreach workers to promote store project
  39. 39. Initiative to link HCS & food entrepreneurs East Scarb Storefront, Seed to Table TPH Dietitian & HE support EcDev & Enterprise Toronto
  40. 40. Unexpected Links Landlord runs children’s morning snack program Worked w TPH Dietitians to improve food quality AND fruit now purchased through HCS pilot store
  41. 41. Marketing Support  Health Canada funding to bring in marketing consultants
  42. 42. Current Challenges  Consistent high quality, affordable fruit & veg distribution  Expansion beyond F&V - how to find full inventory of healthier fresh, prepared or frozen food distributors  Project currently has limited food retail/marketing expertise  Limited sales data – relying on 3rd party for POS system, database management & sharing
  43. 43. Comments? Questions? RESEARCH TEAM Brian Cook – bcook@toronto.ca Julie Sommerfreund – jsommer@toronto.ca Leia Minaker – lminaker@uwaterloo.ca Catherine Mah – catherine.mah@mun.ca Margaret de Groh

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