Ubiquity of Sugary Drinks and Processed Food Throughout Food and Non-Food Retail Settings in NYC

Tamar Adjoian Mezzacca, Amaka V. Anekwe, Shannon M. Farley, Kimberly A. Kessler, Michelle Q. Rosa, Marie A. Bragg, Pasquale E. Rummo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sugary drinks and processed foods are associated with negative health outcomes in adults, including weight gain, and their consumption should be limited. However, they may be difficult to avoid if they are ubiquitously available in the retail environment. This study aimed to quantify the availability of such products for sale throughout New York City (NYC) at both food and non-food retailers. In 2018, ten one-mile retail-dense NYC street segments were selected for the sample. Data collectors canvassed each segment and visited all retailers, recording the type (food/non-food) and presence of processed food and beverages for sale. Descriptive statistics were analyzed for availability of products sold in retailers overall and by retailer type. In total, 491 retailers were identified (191 food, 300 non-food). Sugary drinks were available at 83% of food retailers and 19% of non-food retailers, while processed foods were available at 61% of food retailers and 16% of non-food retailers. Eighty-five percent of food retailers and 21% of non-food retailers sold sugary drinks and/or processed foods. This study supports and builds on results of previous research examining the availability of food and beverages in the retail environment. Sugary drinks and processed foods are ubiquitous at food and non-food retailers, providing pervasive cues to consume energy-dense, nutrient-poor products. Restrictions on where such products can be sold merit consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-978
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Food environment
  • Food retail
  • Processed food
  • Sugary drinks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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