The Healthy Food Retail (HFR) Working Group is a team of researchers and leaders working on healthy food retail related issues and who are committed to improving the health of children and their families through improved research, evaluation, and dissemination of healthy food retail strategies. The working group is a collaborative effort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Eating Research (HER) program and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN).
Membership in the working group is open to all with an interest in obesity and nutrition in the food retail setting, including research focused on shifting consumer purchases toward healthier foods and beverages that align with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) and to increase demand for these options. The primary population of interest is children, ages 0 to 18, and their families, especially in lower-income and racial and ethnic populations at highest risk for obesity. Settings of focus include a variety of retail outlets, e.g., supercenters/big box stores, supermarkets, grocery stores, corner stores, bodegas/tiendas, convenience stores, farmers’ markets, dollar stores, drug stores, and online food shopping. The working group is also interested in the role of retail food sources in relationship to other aspects and levels of the food system (e.g., wholesalers, manufacturers).
The mission of the HFR Working Group is to build a network of researchers and leaders from academia, non-profit organizations, government, and other funding agencies focused on increasing the quantity and quality of research in the area of childhood obesity and nutrition in the food retail setting to:
Special emphasis is placed on equity and addressing the needs of those at highest risk for obesity, especially lower-income and racial/ethnic populations.
Overall Goal: To identify the most effective strategies to shift consumers away from purchasing and consuming unhealthy, energy-dense foods and beverages, and instead toward purchasing and consuming healthier foods and beverages that align with the DGA, by designing, conducting, and disseminating research in the food retail setting on how to increase access to and demand for healthier options.
Meeting Frequency and Format:
Full working group meetings will consist of a joint speaker series held every 1-2 months. The topics for the speaker series will be decided by the two working group leaders and the leaders of each of the three subgroups (Methods, Retailers, and Policy). All working group members are encouraged to join these meetings.
After each speaker, there will be a group discussion to determine if further steps need to be taken on the speaker topic. Subgroups will meet at the discretion of the subgroup leaders to delve deeper into topics discussed at the joint speaker series, or on other topics determined by the subgroup. Subgroups may select projects or products to pursue, including papers for publication, grants to write, and/or research to conduct. If you are interested in learning more about current projects of any of the subgroups – please contact the subgroup leaders listed below.
Download the Healthy Food Retail WG Overview for more information
Gittelsohn J, Rowan M, Gadhoke P. Interventions in small food stores to change the food
environment, improve diet, and reduce risk of chronic disease. Prev Chronic Dis 2012;9:110015. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd9.110015
Click on the dates below to view recording of each presentation. Click on the presentation title to access the PPT slides.
Healthy Food Retail Working Group
April 2019: Lessons Learned from Evaluating the Implementation of a Healthier Checkout Initiative (Barbara Baquero, Caitlin Simon, Michele Polacsek, Leah Chapman, Molly De Marco, Lucia Leone, Betsy Anderson Steeves)
February 2019: The Effect of Local and State Minimum Wage on Food Prices and Adult Health (James Buszkiewicz, Jennifer Otten)
October 2018: Building a Healthier Convenience Store: Why, How, and What’s Next? (Jeff Lenard, Vice President of Industry Initiatives – National Association of Convenience Stores)
April 2018: Online Grocery Shopping: Promise and Pitfalls for Healthier Food and Beverage Purchases (Stephanie Jilcott-Pitts)
January 2018: The Costco Effect: Exploring Outshopping Behaviour in Rural Retail Food Environments (Catherine Mah, Dalhousie University)
September 2017: Here Comes the Neighborhood: A Conversation with Varish Goyal, President of Loop Neighborhood Markets
May 2017: ‘SSB Taxes and Preemption’ (Jennifer Pomeranz)
October 2016: ‘Digital Food Marketing in the Big Data Era: Recent Developments‘ (Jeffrey Chester, Lori Dorfman) and Berkeley Soda Tax & Implications for Retail (Jennifer Falbe and Kristine Madsen)
June 2016: ‘Healthy Food Retail Intervention Strategies’ (Collin Payne)
October 2015: Summary of Supermarket Scorecard Findings
Healthy Food Retail Working Group: Policy Subgroup
May 2017: ‘How are SNAP Benefits Spent? Evidence from a Retail Panel’ (Jesse Shapiro)
August 2017: Presentation by Tufts/UConn RIDGE Center Grantees
Healthy Food Retail Working Group: Retailers Subgroup
December 2016: A Conversation on the Retailers and Academic Collaboration Experience (Collin Payne and Pay N’ Save)
March 2017: Barbara Ruhs, MS, RD, LDN, Retail Food and Health Expert
July 2017: ‘Next Steps for the GRAC Guidelines: Setting the Agenda for 2017-18
Healthy Food Retail Working Group: Methods Subgroup
November 2016: ‘The Healthfulness of Food and Beverage Purchases after the WIC Revisions’
March 2017: ‘Valid Brief NEMS Tools and Retail Beverage Environment Surveys (NEMS-B and NEMS BPP)’ (Karen Glanz)
September 2017: The Grocery Purchase Quality Index – A Tool for Assessing Household Food Purchases (Patricia Guenther)
HFR Working Group Leaders
Shannon Zenk, PhD, MPH, RN, Professor, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago
Joel Gittelsohn, PhD, MS, Professor, Global Obesity Prevention Center, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
HFR Subgroups and Leaders:
For more information, please contact:
Emily Welker, MPH, RD
Research Associate, RWJF Healthy Eating Research