Click, Click, Cook: Online Grocery Shopping Leaves ‘Food Deserts’ Behind

On February 20, the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) hosted a Connect & Explore webinar titled, “Click, Click, Cook: Online Grocery Shopping Leaves ‘Food Deserts’ Behind.” Speakers included, Dr. Eric J. Brandt and Mr. Jerold R. Mande.

The webinar provided a brief overview of a study recently published in JAMA, “Availability of Grocery Delivery to Food Deserts in States Participating in the Online Purchase Pilot”; and discussed opportunities to expand programs and policies to increase food access and improve diet quality in food deserts through online grocery delivery services.

In early 2019, the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) began a pilot program in which clients had the option of purchasing groceries via an online grocery delivery service. An analysis from Yale University studied food deserts in eight states—Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington—and found that most people in “food deserts” would increase their access to healthy, nutritious food if they purchased groceries online and had the food delivered as part of SNAP.

The analysis also showed that online grocery delivery systems already cover about 90 percent of food deserts—places where access to healthy food is limited—and the benefits of allowing SNAP families to buy healthy food online are far-reaching and wide-ranging and provide nutrients and nourishment that reduce obesity, boost energy, and promote better eating habits and behaviors, which can lower the risk for serious illnesses.

The report mentioned during the webinar, Report of the 50th Anniversary of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health: Honoring the Past, Taking Action for our Future, will be available on March 24 and will be shared here.

Access the slides (PDF)