Retail Food Environment
The retail food environment refers to the physical food environment, a concept that plays an important role in characterizing food systems and understanding food access. The retail food environment includes the physical presence of food stores and markets on a community level as well as the availability of healthy and affordable foods in stores on a consumer level. The Retail Food Index (RFEI) is a method that helps to quantitatively characterize the retail food environment in a given geographical area.
Improving the retail food environment in a community can include means such as increasing the quantity and accessibility of grocery stores, limiting fast-food retailers and increasing healthy food retailing, and increasing farmers markets and community gardens.