Accessing healthy food: availability and price of a healthy food basket in Scotland

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Abstract:

Access to healthy food and its marketing have been asserted as limitations on changing behaviour to improve diet. A retailer survey in Scotland is reported that considered availability and affordability of a basket of indicator healthy food items, termed the Healthy Eating Indicator Shopping Basket (HEISB). It comprised 35 items drawn from 5 major food groups. A census of HEISB availability in 466 stores was undertaken in a sample of locations that varied on dimensions of urban-rural and affluent-deprived. Around half of the supermarkets surveyed stocked all the items. Availability of healthy food items was generally seen to be adequate but there were notable variations in availability for specific items. There were large variations in price for the HEISB items across the stores and the survey areas. The total HEISB median price varied by store type. Basket price tended to rise with deprivation with a caveat of the lowest prices in the most deprived areas. Accessibility to a range of healthy food depends more on the presence of medium and large stores than being in a deprived or affluent area.

Keywords: FOOD ACCESS; FOOD PRICES; FOOD RETAILING; HEALTHY FOOD; NEIGHBOURHOOD RETAILING; SCOTLAND

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725708X381957

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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