A recent Minnesota Daily editorial has received criticism for its stance against a proposed ordinance for Minneapolis that would require grocery-licensed businesses to carry certain amounts of staple foods.
We retain our original stance that the proposal is indeed misguided and that city leaders must be critical of it.
While supporters point to the city’s “food deserts” where access to groceries is limited, the ordinance would only force stores to stock goods they don’t sell much of.
Earlier this year, Minneapolis eased up on its Healthy Corner Store Program after finding that participating stores sold on average just $10 a week in produce. This is proof that even if these small shops have staple foods, people might not get them.
It’s important to keep in mind that many convenience stores in grocery-scant areas sell their goods at inflated prices — as they must make a profit. Some area stores have openly stated that their prices for produce are 10 percent higher than at grocery stores because of the difficulty of selling produce and its perishability.
Placing mandates on small-shop owners seems like a counterintuitive solution to solve an already difficult problem. The city should instead incentivize shop owners to carry more staple foods by targeting areas where grocery stores are limited. Providing tax breaks to those who carry a certain amount of staple foods would be an effective compromise.
However, it’ll still take more than just providing healthy foods to change people’s diets.