After the 1992 riots, city government made it a priority to bring full-service grocery stores back to South and East L.A. neighborhoods, and though there were some successes, most of the stores that did open closed soon after. Now, there are 60 full-service grocery stores in South L.A. serving an average population of 22,156 residents per-store, compared to 57 stores in West L.A. that serve only 11,150 residents on average.Which is answered in the next two sentences.
While the disparity in access to healthy food is undeniable, the potential solutions are more debatable – how can the city, and the residents of South and East L.A., attract grocery store chains?
Why can't a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's turn a profit in traditionally underserved areas? If they build the markets, will the customers come?The analysis of the situation always assumes that the residents want to have a healthy diet, but don't have access to it. That seems to defy business logic. The numbers above show that if there was really a demand for the product, the stores would open. Grocery store chains are pretty sophisticated operations and they don't leave much on the table when it comes to making profit.
This parallels the education argument in the same neighborhoods. When poor performance is seen, all kinds of explanations are trotted out with the exception of: they just don't care.
That explanation would seem to fit all the facts.
|Image from this post which itself has a related story.|