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Food retail market structure and produce purchases in the United States

Cai, Xiaowei, Volpe, Richard, Schroeter, Christiane, Mancino, Lisa
Agribusiness 2018 v.34 no.4 pp. 756-770
USDA, data collection, economic impact, food prices, food retailing, market structure, retail marketing, supermarkets, urban areas, United States
Market concentration is associated with food prices, but little is known about the other potential economic consequences of market structure in food retailing. We create a novel dataset by merging IRI householdā€level purchase records with Nielsen TDLinx data on store location and USDA Food Environment Atlas data to study the food market structure and produce purchases. Treating zip codes as markets, we find that increased market concentration is associated with decreased produce expenditures. This impact is larger in rural markets than in urban areas. In addition, the presence of most nontraditional store formats such as convenience stores and dollar stores is associated with decreased produce purchases. However, the opposite is true for club stores and natural/gourmet supermarkets. The estimated effects of market entry are small, supporting the literature on supermarket intervention studies. [EconLit citations: L1, D1, D4, R2].