Food Access: Social Compact is helping you to bring fresh food at competitive prices to every member of your community
Grocery Gap Analysis
Increasing evidence around the United States indicates that low-income families and minorities are less likely to have access to appropriate grocery services. An absence of affordable, quality food does not necessarily result from lack of market demand and can lead to demonstrable health complications such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension. Furthermore, research suggests that a food environment where residents travel short distances to grocers and longer distances to fast food restaurants and other fringe food options is correlated to better diet-related community health. Understanding the demand for groceries in communities is essential to development professionals and legislators as many urban areas have begun crafting incentives for grocers to locate in their communities. Through the Grocery Gap Analysis, Social Compact quantifies market demand for grocery providers, examines unmet grocery demand, and identifies sites where grocery attraction strategies are necessary.
The grocery gap analysis determines an area’s market size, buying power and overall grocery gap. In addition, the analysis also provides a detailed profile of the presence of fast food restaurants and their locations.
1. Market Size: Utilizing local and up-to-date indicators, Social Compact determines population estimates for the area under analysis.
2. Buying Power: This section provides traditional market estimates as well as nuanced income estimates, tailored to urban markets, (i.e. income of new homebuyers, aggregate income) that better capture the potential that exists in underserved neighborhoods. In addition, household income density maps provide a visual representation of an area’s purchasing power.
3. Overall Grocery Gap: The grocery gap analysis breaks into three subsections:
ð The first analyzes grocery leakage, characterized as unmet demand. Significant and concentrated grocery leakages can indicate underserved neighborhoods and excellent opportunities for mutually beneficial investment. Maps and charts help to fully illustrate this at the aggregate level.
ð The second component to the grocery gap analysis quantifies the active grocery retail space in an area. Maps and charts are used to depict underserved areas.
ð The third and final component of the grocery gap analysis examines the distance residents must travel to reach the nearest full-service grocer. Maps and tables help present this information and compare data citywide.
Social Compact’s grocery gap analysis quantifies market demand for grocery providers, examines unmet grocery demand, identifies sites where grocery attraction strategies are necessary and uncovers profitable sites for grocers. In addition, the report includes a brief overview of grocers’ site-selection procedures.
Moving forward, Social Compact will work to obtain nationwide grocery retail data. The goal is to develop national fresh food access metrics. In doing so, Social Compact will:
1. Establish a national baseline of food access metrics using square footage information, as well as accurate sales volume data.
2. Establish “square foot per person” metrics nationwide at varying levels of geography.
3. Calculate “average sales per square feet” to baseline and compare suburban and urban markets, cities, regions, and states.
4. Define a national threshold for “underserved” grocery/food access.
5. Highlight cities and communities with the unmet potential to attract full service grocers.
6. Develop a standardized report that can be tailored to different geographies according to stakeholders’ needs.
7. Disseminate accurate market information to funders, investors, lenders, retailers, brokers, and other local community actors in order to attract investment and necessary services to low-income neighborhoods.