The Healthy Food Retail Study is a research study to assess the availability of healthy foods in retail stores across Richmond through key informant interviews, a GIS mapping analysis, and an evaluation of shelf space devoted to healthy foods relative to junk foods. RFSS partners with the City of Richmond, Vancouver Coastal Health, the University of British Columbia, the Richmond Food Bank, the Richmond Poverty Response Committee and the West Coast Convenience Store Association to provide the project.
The overall objective of the Healthy Food Retail Study is to improve health outcomes for all residents in Richmond by enhancing access to fresh, healthy foods in food retail.
To ensure this objectives are met, RFSS oversees a number of activities, such as:
- Mapping of food retail by category, by socio-economic status, and health survey data
- Behavioural analysis of food retail decision-making, access, barriers and assets through qualitative interviews, observations, and literature review
- Evaluation of food retail availability of fruits and vegetables versus non-core foods
- Development of a white paper, outlining policy options available to local government agencies and the business community
The Healthy Food Retail Study will help ensure that:
- Richmond residents, in particular low-asset residents, will increase the amounts of vegetables and fruits that they consume on a regular basis
- Project/program development will address barriers or issues with food access
- Food policy is developed that provides mechanisms/strategies to enhance the amount of vegetables and fruits available to consumers
RFSS measures the results of the program by:
- Recording health survey data that tracks the amount of vegetables and fruits consumed by Richmond residents
- Measuring the ratio of core versus non-core foods available in stores to evaluate the range of healthy products available across food retail outlets
- Guiding the development of food policies that support food retail outlets in stocking vegetables and fruits
The Healthy Food Retail Study will produce a number of valuable community resources, such as:
- A set of maps and map layers outlining the food retail landscape as well as the distribution of low-income, food bank users, social housing units, and available health data
- A research report synthesizing the behavioural data from qualitative interviews
- Blog posts and press releases disseminating findings to the broader public
- A white paper outlining specific policy options for improving food retail
- A peer-reviewed academic article (potentially)
The results of the project will be disseminated through a variety of means, such by print and online media channels like the RFSS website, the RFSS Facebook page, the Richmond News, the Richmond Review, and so forth. It will also be made available by electronic means to project partners, food retailers, the BC Food Systems Network, the BC Food Systems Gateway, the RFSS action team, and their networks.