Evaluating Consumer Nutrition Environment in Food Deserts and Food Swamps




Jin, He
Lu, Yongmei

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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute


This research examines the consumer nutrition environment in the selected neighborhoods identified as food deserts, food swamps, and food oases in Austin, Texas, by considering food availability, food price, food quality, and food labeling. A food auditing instrument M-TxNEAS (He Jin, San Marcos, TX, USA) was developed to capture the unique dietary culture and food preferences in Texas. A total of 93 food items in 14 grocery stores and supermarkets (GS) and 32 convenience stores (CS) were surveyed. The GS in food swamps and food oases were found to offer significantly more healthy foods than the CS. The availability of healthy food in the GS in the food swamps and food oases is significantly higher than that of the GS from the food deserts; CS in the three neighborhoods did not exhibit a significant difference in healthy food availability. There was no significant difference between the price for the healthy items (lower fat, lower calorie, and whole grain) and that for the regular food options. No significant difference was found for food quality or food labeling between the stores from the different types of neighborhoods. The GS in food deserts are small grocery stores carrying limited ranges of foods. The establishment of larger food stores in the food deserts might not be very rewarding, but opening more small grocery stores with healthier options may alleviate food issues.



convenience stores, food insecurity, grocery stores, supermarkets, Geography and Environmental Studies


Jin, H., & Lu, Y. (2021). Evaluating consumer nutrition environment in food deserts and food swamps. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(5), 2675.


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