This report provides a current picture of the state of the research on food access, following up on our 2010 report, The Grocery Gap: Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why It Matters. The presence of so many new and diverse innovations in healthy food retailing has provided researchers with more opportunities to examine the relationship between the “food environments” in which people live and their diets, as well as the relationship between food retailing and community economic development. The recent material also reflects researchers’ growing intentions and capacities to measure change over time in terms of better access to healthy food.
While much progress is being made to develop new models of food retailing that serve communities previously left out, the evidence continues to suggest that many families are underserved and that the problem is most pronounced for residents of low-income communities and communities of color. The research indicates that poor access to healthy food corresponds with poor nutrition and that new healthy food retail contributes to community economic development in tangible, positive ways.