An Evaluation of Food Deserts in America

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Dave D. Weatherspoon, Shelly Ver Ploeg, and Paula Dutko, Guest Editors

Theme Issue Overview: An Evaluation of Food Deserts in America

A series of articles explores the topic of food access and its ramifications for diet and health in the Unites States. This issue explores supply-side decisions that lead to food deserts, the characteristics of such areas, and how policy and local interventions may improve access to healthful and affordable foods.

Food Deserts Suffer Persistent Socioeconomic Disadvantage

Areas previously identified as food deserts by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are subject to persistent socioeconomic disadvantage compared to other areas of the United States. High poverty rates largely influence whether an area of widespread low income will also be a food desert.

Will Long Term Food Desert Consumers Purchase Fresh Fruits and Vegetables?

This paper provides empirical evidence on consumer behavior after healthy foods are reintroduced into a long-standing Detroit food desert. Fresh fruit and vegetable consumption responds elastically to income and inelastically to price. Knowledge and access limitations are constraints. Policy implications relating to causes and consequences of food deserts are discussed.

Effects of the Revised Food Packages for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in Connecticut

In 2009, WIC implemented revised food packages to align them with dietary recommendations and promote good nutrition and healthy weight in WIC participants. This article briefly reviews the findings from research on how the WIC food package revisions influenced the food retail landscape and access to healthy foods in Connecticut.

Food Deserts: Demand, Supply, and Economic Theory

This article illustrates how the interactions of supply and demand factors impacting food retailers' location can explain the existence of food deserts. The workings of these factors under different economic frameworks are also discussed, to shed light on how retailers' decisions impact food access.