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Nutrients ; 14(18)2022 Sep 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2033076


Online grocery shopping has expanded rapidly in the U.S., yet little is known about the retailer's perceptions of online grocery services, which can aid in the expansion of services. Furthermore, many barriers to online grocery utilization persist across geographic areas, especially among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-authorized retailers. This study captured perceived barriers and facilitators of online grocery shopping for managers of SNAP-authorized retailers. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with managers (n = 23) of grocery stores/supermarkets in urban and rural areas across four different states: TN, KY, NC, and NY. Grocery store managers offering online ordering (n = 15) and managers from brick-and-mortar stores without online services (n = 8) participated in the interviews. Three primary themes emerged among managers offering online ordering: (1) order fulfillment challenges, (2) perceived customer barriers, and (3) perceived customer benefits. Among managers at brick-and-mortar locations without online services, four major themes emerged: (1) thoughts on implementing online shopping, (2) COVID-19 pandemic impacts, (3) competition with other stores, and (4) benefits of maintaining brick-and-mortar shopping. This study provides a deeper understanding of retailers' experience and perceptions of online grocery services among stores authorized to accept SNAP benefits. This perspective is necessary to inform policies and enhance the evolving virtual food marketplace for SNAP customers.

COVID-19 , Food Assistance , Commerce , Food Supply , Humans , Pandemics , Supermarkets
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(2)2022 01 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1632943


Online grocery shopping has the potential to improve access to food, particularly among low-income households located in urban food deserts and rural communities. The primary aim of this pilot intervention was to test whether a three-armed online grocery trial improved fruit and vegetable (F&V) purchases. Rural and urban adults across seven counties in Kentucky, Maryland, and North Carolina were recruited to participate in an 8-week intervention in fall 2021. A total of 184 adults were enrolled into the following groups: (1) brick-and-mortar "BM" (control participants only received reminders to submit weekly grocery shopping receipts); (2) online-only with no support "O" (participants received weekly reminders to grocery shop online and to submit itemized receipts); and (3) online shopping with intervention nudges "O+I" (participants received nudges three times per week to grocery shop online, meal ideas, recipes, Facebook group support, and weekly reminders to shop online and to submit itemized receipts). On average, reported food spending on F/V by the O+I participants was USD 6.84 more compared to the BM arm. Online shopping with behavioral nudges and nutrition information shows great promise for helping customers in diverse locations to navigate the increasing presence of online grocery shopping platforms and to improve F&V purchases.

Food Supply , Rural Population , Adult , Consumer Behavior , Habits , Humans , Urban Population , Vegetables
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(23)2021 12 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1554817


Rural communities are disproportionally affected by food insecurity, making them vulnerable to the consequences of supply disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While access to food was initially diminished due to food supply disruptions, little is known about the mechanisms through which federal emergency assistance programs impacted food access in rural populations. Through a series of five focus groups in spring 2021, we examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food access in a rural Appalachian community in Kentucky. Data were analyzed using a Grounded Theory Approach. Findings revealed the following four primary themes: food scarcity in grocery stores; expanded federal food assistance; expanded community food resources; and expanded home gardening. Participants provided details regarding the way increased federal assistance, especially expanded benefits within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, allowed them to purchase greater quantities of nutritious food. This study unveils the specific impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on one rural population, including the influence of some social determinants of health on food insecurity. Policymakers and stakeholders should recognize the layered protection of multiple federal emergency assistance programs against food insecurity and the potential for long-term population health promotion in rural areas.

COVID-19 , Food Assistance , Appalachian Region/epidemiology , Food Insecurity , Food Supply , Humans , Pandemics , Policy , Rural Population , SARS-CoV-2