The Introduction of a Supermarket via Tax-Credits in a Low-Income Area: The Influence on Purchasing and Consumption

Brian Elbel, Tod Mijanovich, Kamila Kiszko, Courtney Abrams, Jonathan Cantor, L. Beth Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. Interest and funding continue to grow for bringing supermarkets to underserved areas, yet little is known about their impact. Design. A quasi-experimental study was used to determine the impact of a new supermarket opening as a result of tax and zoning incentives. Setting. The study took place in the South Bronx, New York City, New York. Subjects: Studied were residents of two South Bronx neighborhoods deemed high need. Measures. Food purchasing and consumption were examined via surveys and 24-hour dietary recalls before and at two points after the supermarket opened (1-5, 13-17 months). Analysis. Data were analyzed using difference-in-difference models controlling for gender, race and ethnicity, age, education, marital status, and self-reported income. Ordinary least squares and logistic regression models were estimated for continuous and binary outcomes, respectively. Results. At baseline, 94% to 97% of consumers shopped at a supermarket. There was a 2% increase in this behavior in the intervention community (p <.05) not seen in the comparison community. One year later there was a 7% net increase in eating at home (p <.1) and a 20% decrease in drinking sugary beverages (p <.05), but no appreciable change in fruit/vegetable consumption or overall dietary quality. Conclusion. The new supermarket did not result in substantial or broad changes in purchasing patterns or nutritional quality of food consumed, though smaller, positive changes were observed over a 1-year period. Future work should examine different contexts and a broader set of outcomes, including economic development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Diet
  • Economic Development
  • Fruit
  • Health focus: nutrition
  • New York City
  • Outcome measure: behavioral
  • Prevention Research. Manuscript format: research
  • Research purpose: program evaluation
  • Setting: Local community
  • Strategy: behavior change
  • Study design: quasi-experimental
  • Target population age: adults
  • Target population circumstances: education/income level
  • Vegetables
  • and race/ethnicity
  • built environment
  • geographic location

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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