Background: Previous research has suggested that fruits and vegetables are more expensive and less readily available in more deprived communities. However, this evidence is mainly based on small samples drawn from specific communities often located in urban settings and thus is not generalisable to national contexts. The present study explores the influence of neighbourhood deprivation and local retail structure on the price and availability of fruit and vegetables in a sample of areas representing the diversity of urban-rural environments across Scotland, UK.
Methods: A sample of 310 stores located in 10 diverse areas of Scotland was surveyed and data on the price and availability of a basket of 15 fruit and vegetable items were collected. The data were analysed to identify the influence of store type and neighbourhood deprivation on the price and availability of fruits and vegetables.
Results: Neighbourhood deprivation and store type did not significantly predict the price of a basket of fruit and vegetables within the sample, although baskets did decrease in price as store size increased. The highest prices were found in the smallest stores located in the most deprived areas. Availability of fruit and vegetables is lower in small shops located within deprived neighbourhoods compared to similar shops in affluent areas. Overall, availability increases with increasing store size.
Conclusions: Availability of fruit and vegetables significantly varies by neighbourhood deprivation in small stores. Policies aimed at promoting sales of fruit and vegetable in these outlets may benefit residents in deprived areas.
- food store
- FRESH FRUIT
- FOOD DESERTS