Over the past thirty years, the structure of food retailing in the United States has changed dramatically. Local grocery stores that once served a small community or neighborhood are increasingly being replaced by regional or national chain grocers. In addition, big box general merchan- disers have also entered the retail grocery sector with the advent of hybrid superstores that combine groceries with a wide array of product lines. A key consequence of this restructuring is the growing uneven distribution of food retailers across rural America. For example, Kaufman reports that rural counties in the Lower Mississippi Delta average one supermarket per 190.5 square miles. Additionally, over 70 percent of the low income populations in this region must travel 30 or more miles to access the lower food prices offered by a supermarket or large grocery store. The remaining options included small grocers or convenience stores where consumers are likely to pay substan- tially higher prices for a smaller variety of lower quality foods [7].


Southern Rural Development Center

Publication Date


Spatial Coverage

Southern United States

Research Center

Southern Rural Development Center


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