The New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative announces that it hosted NJ State Senator Ron Rice on a site visit at Newark’s Lucky Fox Market (164 Irvine Turner Boulevard, Newark Central Ward) on May 5. The tour showcased the positive impact healthy corner stores like Lucky Fox are making to increase people’s access to affordable, healthy food, as well as bolster economic development efforts by capturing retail dollars that would otherwise be spent outside of the community.
The New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative is a statewide program focused on increasing the availability and sale of healthy, affordable food in local stores and bodegas in communities that are underserved by supermarkets. To qualify as part of program, corner stores display sanctioned marketing materials — including recipe cards — to indicate healthy food options; introduce at least four new healthy food products from two different food groups; and agree to periodic progress-assessment visits. In turn, the stores are eligible for training and technical assistance that enable them to profitably stock and sell the new, healthy food items, as well as advertising, marketing, and promotional materials to attract new customers.
Lucky Fox Market is one of four corner stores in the Newark Healthy Corner Store Network. Statewide, there are more than 80 corner stores participating in the initiative with the goal of expanding to 150 corner stores in underserved New Jersey communities by yearend.
“Far too many New Jerseyans live in communities where they are unable to make healthy food choices because there are no well-stocked grocery or convenience stories in their neighborhoods,” said Corinne Orlando, director of Government Relations for the American Heart Association. “By utilizing the existing network of corner stores across the state, the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative is helping remove this barrier to food access, enabling more people to make the healthy choice, the easy choice, she said.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 340,000 New Jersey residents are living in food deserts across the state, while The Reinvestment Fund suggests even more alarming numbers with as much as 10 percent of the state’s population lacking access to healthy food options. The incidence of obesity is disproportionately higher in lower-income neighborhoods, many of the same places where residents lack access to stores that sell healthy foods. In 2013, New Jersey was one of six states that saw a slight increase in adult obesity, and the state’s rate of obesity among toddlers who reside in low-income communities is the second highest in the nation.
“Many corner stores are located near schools making them frequent destinations for children who, on average, purchase 360 calories on unhealthy snacks like chips, candy and soda during each visit,” said Courtney Price, project manager for New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids and coordinator for the Newark Healthy Corner Store Network. “If healthy corner stores like Lucky Fox can encourage even half of those kids to pick up a piece of fruit or yogurt, we can improve the health of children and families in Newark. The healthy corner store initiative is an important strategy in helping combat obesity in our city.”
“Making affordable, nutritious food easy to find in corner stores is an important part of The Food Trust’s comprehensive approach to healthy food access and education,” says Yael Lehmann, executive director of The Food Trust. “We are thrilled to be supporting the work of such a strong and committed team of partners working together to make New Jersey an even better place to live and do business.”Related Articles: