Giving Families a Voice for Equitable Healthy Food Access in the Wake of Online Grocery Shopping

Gabriela M. Vedovato, Shahmir H. Ali, Caitlin M. Lowery, Angela C.B. Trude

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the views of families from low-income backgrounds about inequities in healthy food access and grocery purchase is critical to food access policies. This study explored perspectives of families eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on healthy food access in physical and online grocery environments. The qualitative design used purposive sampling of 44 primary household food purchasers with children (aged ≤ 8), between November 2020–March 2021, through 11 online focus groups and 5 in-depth interviews. Grounded theory was used to identify community-level perceived inequities, including influences of COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP and online grocery services. The most salient perceived causes of inequitable food access were neighborhood resource deficiencies and public transportation limitations. Rural communities, people with disabilities, older adults, racially and ethnically diverse groups were perceived to be disproportionately impacted by food inequities, which were exacerbated by the pandemic. The ability to use SNAP benefits to buy foods online facilitated healthy food access. Delivery fees and lack of control over food selection were barriers. Barriers to healthy food access aggravated by SNAP included social stigma, inability to acquire cooked meals, and inadequate amount of monthly funds. Findings provide a foundation for policy redesign to promote equitable healthy food systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4377
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • food assistance
  • food insecurity
  • grocery stores
  • health disparities
  • healthy food access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Giving Families a Voice for Equitable Healthy Food Access in the Wake of Online Grocery Shopping'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this