Indicator 7.3

Issue: Commitment to widening access

Indicator: Access to and within stores

Why is this issue important?

People without access to a car face a simple logistical difficulty in their efforts to feed themselves nutritiously and affordably. Lack of physical access to appropriate shops is often cited among people on low incomes as a reason for not being able to eat well (Dobson et al 1994, Dowler, Turner & Dobson 2001). These people are dependent on public transport to reach stores, and (even more important) get their shopping back home, but it may be unreliable, and minicabs add to shopping costs. This may deter people from buying in bulk (a cheap and convenient way to shop) even if they can afford to do so. Increasing car dependency also reduces physical activity, which contributes to the problem of obesity, another important public health issue.

What should retailers do about this issue?

Multiple retailers should not confine their services to people who can reach them by car. Access by other means should be made as easy and as cheap as possible. These include access by public or subsidised transport, on foot or by bicycle; but accessibility could also be improved by free delivery services, for example to people over 65 or other disadvantaged groups, or free delivery to local drop-off points.


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