While many wealthier folks switched to on-line ordering and did extra stocking up, most low-income folks nonetheless needed to store in-person at native small grocers and greenback shops and accomplish that frequently as a result of they could not afford to refill on groceries.
That’s the discovering of a examine that examined 2020 knowledge on in-person site 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 – May 31).
While mid- and high-end grocery shops and big-box meals retailers within the metropolis had vital drops in foot site visitors throughout lockdown, greenback shops and smaller impartial grocers — notably in low-income neighborhoods and people serving many individuals of shade — had solely a small lower in buyer visits.
“Most low-income people still had to shop for groceries in person during the COVID lockdowns and may not have had the economic ability to stock up on food,” mentioned lead examine writer Armita Kar, a doctoral pupil in geography at Ohio State University.
“They took fewer trips to mid- and high-end grocery stores outside their neighborhood and continued to go regularly to the stores that were nearest to them, which were the dollar stores and local grocers,” Kar mentioned in a college information launch.
The issues confronted by poor folks throughout pandemic lockdowns aren’t new, in keeping with examine co-author Huyen Le, an assistant professor of geography at Ohio State.
“COVID-19 exacerbated the existing problems of unequal access to food for low-income people,” Le mentioned.
“The rich and poor were mostly shopping at different food stores before COVID-19, and those differences became even more stark when the lockdown came,” mentioned examine co-author Harvey Miller, director of Ohio State’s Center for Urban and Regional Analysis.
The findings spotlight the necessity to present higher meals procuring choices for low-income individuals who dwell in so-called meals deserts, in keeping with Le.
“Dollar stores mostly offer packaged and highly processed foods that aren’t healthy,” Le mentioned. “Policymakers should examine ways to provide better shopping options for people in low-income areas, so they have better access to healthy foods.”
The examine can be printed within the September concern of the journal Applied Geography.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture gives suggestions for healthy eating on a budget.
SOURCE: Ohio State University, information launch, July 19, 2021