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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service is offering assistance to small retailers in the form of its new Healthy Corner Store Guide, which seeks to educate small business owners on how to improve access and sales of healthy products.
The guide provides strategies for marketing healthier product options, sourcing healthy food and beverages, and making changes to the way food and beverage items are displayed. Example strategies include displaying healthier items at eye level, near the checkout counter or close to entryways so that they are visible when customers first enter the store.
The USDA noted that lower-income areas have significantly more c-stores than higher income areas, and that Hispanic youth are more likely to attend schools with c-stores and snack stores nearby. Accordingly, the agency is focusing on ways to improve the selection of fruits and vegetables, among other healthy choices. Additionally, proximity to c-stores within a neighborhood is associated with higher rates of obesity and diabetes, diseases that disproportionately impact Latinos, according to the USDA.
"Given that Hispanics tend to make use of these types of stores, it's our goal that those making purchases with their SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] benefits are able to buy healthy foods for them and their families," the agency said in a statement. "We appreciate store owners who are taking the first steps in making this transformation a reality."