U study: Rural areas could have shortage of groceries in decade
Almost two-thirds of rural grocers say they plan to leave the business within 10 years, yet most have no plans to ensure that their stores will continue to operate after they are gone — a possible blow to small-town consumers.
That's the conclusion of a new study by the University of Minnesota, which found that rural grocers are particularly important for supplying fresh produce, and that their absence could diminish nutritious food options.
"Grocery stores are the primary source of healthy food," said Karen Lanthier, a co-author of the report and assistant director for the U Extension's sustainable local food program. "When they close, consumers face serious access challenges, and in some cases rely on less-healthy foods as part of their diet."