KCK Health Advocates Seek To Counter Junk Food Marketing Strategies
For customers stepping inside Abarrotes Delicias, the noise, traffic and heat of the surrounding Kansas City, Kansas, neighborhood seem to disappear.
The small store offers everything from tacos to snacks to money transfers – or just an air-conditioned place to hang out and watch TV on a lazy afternoon.
Owner Graciela Martinez says she tries to provide a welcoming personal touch when serving her customers, who comprise a diverse sample of nearby residents.
“The majority of our clients are Latinos from Central America,” Martinez says. “Workers that come in to make small purchases or get money orders, stay-at-home moms, kids.”
In a largely Spanish-speaking part of town where there are few grocery stores, small tiendas like this one are often among the few places people can shop for food – and unfortunately, the food offerings are usually not all that healthy.
“In these communities, it’s easier to get soda or candy or highly preserved foods than it is to get the healthy options,” says Vicki Collie-Akers, a University of Kansas researcher and community health worker.
Collie-Akers leads the Health for All Food Retail and Restaurant Initiative program, which aims to improve community health by changing the way small neighborhood stores do business.