Food deserts are low-income neighborhoods without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Due to a dearth of major grocery stores in these areas, consumers buy food from small food retailers such as convenience stores and corner markets. In general, whatever healthy foods that can be found are expensive and of poor quality because small food retailers often source their food products from “big-box” grocers, paying full price for these products and then marking them up for sale in their own establishment. Entrepreneurs often do this because they lack the ability to buy from distributors who can deliver produce to their businesses at wholesale prices. Some distributors have their own “small market” programs, but often require a minimum purchase that is beyond the means of small food retailers in low-income communities. Small and mid-size farmers who may be interested in selling their produce directly to these establishments also lack efficient distribution infrastructure that can connect them to the thousands of stores in low-income, food deserts. This lack of infrastructure exacerbates the public health disparities seen widely in low-income communities where people are facing record rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
COMPRA Foods aims to fill this service gap for stores and meet residents’ demands for healthier food options. This effort is part of a larger movement to transform food deserts, increase healthy food access, and to positively impact the health outcomes of people living in these areas.
COMPRA Foods was developed, in partnership, by Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN), Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC), and Asian Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance (APIOPA)