Minneapolis Scales Back Healthy Food Program

Minneapolis’ Healthy Corner Store Program launched with lofty ambitions in 2009—to help corner stores market and sell fresh food—but lackluster performance has required the city to reduce the scale of the program.

Citing lackluster performance, Minneapolis is cutting back its Healthy Corner Store Program, from 40 to just 10 stores, reports Maya Rao.

Under the program, “city health workers and nonprofits have encouraged corner stores not only to sell more produce, but also to display it more prominently and be part of community outreach.”

The good intentions of the program, however, were not enough to keep the program on track: “several stores in the program closed, and others struggled to maintain the quality and appearance of produce displays.”

One takeaway that could indicate a possible way forward for the program: “the city realized that it needed to have more intense, long-term relationships with store owners to convince them that stocking healthy foods could actually make money. Without those, according to one city official, the effort was not sustainable: Staff would return a few weeks later and find produce wilted, bruised and forgotten.”

Although participating stores report that they were happy to work with the city to attract new customers. But produce just hasn’t sold as hoped. “Health specialists also calculated that stores on average were selling less than $10 a week of produce,” reports Rao.

Full Story: Minneapolis cuts back program to bring fresh food to small city stores

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