THURSDAY, July 22, 2021 (HealthDay Information) — Modifications in People’ grocery purchasing habits throughout the pandemic made pre-existing gaps in entry to meals even worse, researchers report.
Whereas many wealthier individuals switched to on-line ordering and did extra stocking up, most low-income individuals nonetheless needed to store in-person at native small grocers and greenback shops and accomplish that often as a result of they could not afford to fill up on groceries.
That is the discovering of a research that examined 2020 knowledge on in-person visitors at practically 400 grocery sellers within the Columbus, Ohio, space earlier than lockdown (Jan. 6 – March 15), throughout lockdown (March 16 – April 19) and through preliminary reopening (April 20 – Could 31).
Whereas mid- and high-end grocery shops and big-box meals retailers within the metropolis had vital drops in foot visitors throughout lockdown, greenback shops and smaller impartial grocers — notably in low-income neighborhoods and people serving many individuals of colour — had solely a small lower in buyer visits.
“Most low-income individuals nonetheless had to buy groceries in particular person throughout the COVID lockdowns and should not have had the financial means to fill up on meals,” stated lead research creator Armita Kar, a doctoral pupil in geography at Ohio State College.
“They took fewer journeys to mid- and high-end grocery shops exterior their neighborhood and continued to go often to the shops that had been nearest to them, which had been the greenback shops and native grocers,” Kar stated in a college information launch.
The issues confronted by poor individuals throughout pandemic lockdowns aren’t new, in response to research co-author Huyen Le, an assistant professor of geography at Ohio State.
“COVID-19 exacerbated the present issues of unequal entry to meals for low-income individuals,” Le stated.
“The wealthy and poor had been largely purchasing at completely different meals shops earlier than COVID-19, and people variations turned much more stark when the lockdown got here,” stated research co-author Harvey Miller, director of Ohio State’s Middle for City and Regional Evaluation.
The findings spotlight the necessity to present higher meals purchasing choices for low-income individuals who dwell in so-called meals deserts, in response to Le.
“Greenback shops largely supply packaged and extremely processed meals that are not wholesome,” Le stated. “Policymakers ought to look at methods to supply higher purchasing choices for individuals in low-income areas, in order that they have higher entry to wholesome meals.”
The research will probably be printed within the September challenge of the journal Utilized Geography.
The U.S. Division of Agriculture gives suggestions for healthy eating on a budget.
SOURCE: Ohio State College, information launch, July 19, 2021