Improving access to and availability of healthy food

Access to supermarkets and local stores

The location of supermarkets and local stores influences the variety and competitive pricing of healthy foods. While this may be addressed through the planning scheme, there are policy options for local government to support increased access to healthy foods. These options are likely to be more readily implemented by councils and particularly by smaller, regional local governments.
Options include:
  • promoting and encouraging public transport accessibility to supermarkets and local stores. Where public transport is not an option, council may consider providing shopper shuttles. Public-private partnerships, particularly with shopping centres, is a practical option especially in under-serviced areas
  • ensuring new developments have public transport and pedestrian access to supermarkets and local storesĀ  through the development assessment process
  • business improvement districts partnering with councils to fund improvements, such as footpaths, lighting, bicycle racks, drinking fountains and way-finding signage
  • encouraging supermarkets and full-service grocery stores through incentives, such as application fee and headwork incentives to establish supermarkets and grocery stores in otherwise underserved communities
  • encouraging small store owners to carry fresh produce and enhance small neighbourhood stores. Provide incentives, streamlined permit and zoning variances, training and marketing, and other forms of local government support to encourage small neighbourhood and corner stores in providing foods that are healthy and affordable
  • viewing grocery stores as important contributors to neighbourhood quality of life via improved food access, and walkable distances to homes, rather than sub-optimal economic development.

Case study