Healthy eating is a serious problem, especially in low-income communities.
Obesity and malnutrition in these areas are usually chalked up to affordability and access issues.
But increasingly, it seems the problem lies more with motivation.
While first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign tackles the issue of “food deserts” in mid-July, we’re unconvinced this is a problem worth addressing at the government level.
Grocery stores are in the same business as fast food: selling people food for profit. If there was profit to be made in many low-income areas, there would already be grocery stores. There are certainly fast-food restaurants and convenience stores making money.
Three retailers — Supervalu, Walgreens and Wal-Mart — are leading the charge and have pledged to open or expand more than 1,500 stores in communities that don’t have access to fresh produce and other healthy foods.
In order to succeed in those communities, they’ll have to find a way to be profitable that has yet to be achieved.
Bryan Silbermann, president of the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association, said at the program unveiling that supermarkets have to integrate themselves into these communities in order to succeed and bring a more healthy diet to their lifestyles.
It’s not enough to simply have healthier food — like fresh produce — available, as some recent studies have shown.
Retailers and produce marketers have to encourage and entice consumers to buy their products, just like in any community, but they must appeal to low-income areas that have different motivations and capabilities than other areas.
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