Saturday, November 5, 2011

Detroit Does Have Grocery Stores, BUT

There is an ongoing debate about food in the City of Detroit. Sometimes called a food desert, other times called a food swamp, the city has no national chains with stores in the City.

According to the Annual Report on the Detroit Food System which was published in May, 2011 and released at the Detroit Food Policy Council’s Powering Up the Local Food System Summit, there are 79 full service grocery stores in the City of Detroit. These stores are independently owned, but with one exception, not by Detroit residents.
At the Summit, we heard from residents who shop in their neighborhood. Some were satisfied with the stores, others were not. We heard from many Detroiters who were not happy with the quality, price and/or customer service at their local grocery stores. Many shop at these stores because they have no other options; lack of transportation was a main reason given.

We also heard from residents who admitted that they rarely go in their neighborhood grocery store, preferring to shop outside the city. The real and perceived reasons: quality, price and customer service.

The Detroit Food Policy Council, through its Healthy Food Access Work Group and the Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative’s Food System Work Group, are working together to identify ways to improve access to healthy, fresh and affordable food. We want to hear from Detroiters on this issue.

If you are interested in this issue, try this:
Make a list of grocery items that you purchase on a regular basis. Go to your neighborhood grocery store and if you do most of your grocery shopping outside of the city, also go to the suburban store that you regularly shop at. Purchase the items on your list, taking note of the quality and availability of the items, the format and condition of the store and the customer service that you received. Compare the two. What did you find out?

If you are willing to share your experience, please send an email to me at

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