----   OUR WORK   ----

Healthy Corner Store Measurement:

Developing a Toolkit to Measure Access to Healthy Foods at Urban and Rural Corner Stores


Funders: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections grant awarded through Healthy Eating Research


Availability alone does not tell the whole story of healthy food access in America. A majority of measures currently used to study healthy food access have focused on environment and availability more so than store viability and consumer behavior. Less is known about consumer shopping behaviors and store-owners and managers’ operational and business barriers and practices that facilitate or limit their ability to incorporate
healthier foods.



In 2015, the Center developed a Food Market Measures Toolkit: Assessment of Food Environment, Consumers, and Store Owners. The toolkit was developed after a literature search of corner store related research and a set of 15 interviews conducted with national content experts. 

In addition to this work, a separate study to better understand storeowner barriers and willingness to offer healthy foods was conducted. This included using a modified Nebraska NEMS-S in 30 small stores in urban and rural Nebraska, as well as interviews with each of the store owners. This work resulted in a publication in the American Journal of Health Behavior.




This guide highlights gaps in previous research, and allows researchers and public health practitioners to identify potentially relevant measurement tools to assess their food environment and healthy food retail work. It helps to identify similar measures that can be used across varied research environments, contexts and geographical settings in order to identify more universal best practices. It also helps to gain a better understanding of what can help improve access by measuring initiatives in a more comprehensive manner.

The resource guide is organized into three main sections:

  • The Store and Food Environment section lists measure names and descriptions, as well as the number of items and the response format. It also lists publications, whether it was tested in urban or rural locations and the following store environment constructs: the availability of products by food group, quality, shelf space, pricing, WIC/SNAP certified, store environment and store characteristics.
  • The Consumer Perspective section notes if the measurement tools assess the following consumer constructs: perceived access to healthy food, perceived affordability, perceived access to unhealthy food, shopping behaviors, sociodemographics, perceived access to physical activity, transportation and dietary behaviors.
  • Last, the Store-Owner Perspective notes if the tools assess the following store owner constructs: self-efficacy for stocking healthy, sales outcome expectations, consumer demand and stocking and management.


------- + -------

See the toolkit.



This study adds to the growing body of literature around food access in rural communities, and can inform future implementation strategies to work with storeowners to improve healthy food access.

Pinard, C.A., Fricke, H.E., Smith, T.M., Carpenter, L.R., Yaroch, A.L. The Future of the Small Rural Grocery Store: A Qualitative Exploration. American Journal of Health Behavior 40, no. 6 (November 1, 2016): 749–60. doi:10.5993/AJHB.40.6.7.