Retail competition and consumer choice:contextualising the “food deserts” debate

Clarke, Ian; Hallsworth, Alan; Jackson, Peter; Jouan De Kervenoael, Ronan; Perez Del Aguila, Rossana and Kirkup, Malcolm (2004). Retail competition and consumer choice:contextualising the “food deserts” debate. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 32 (2), pp. 89-99.

Abstract

The “food deserts” debate can be enriched by setting the particular circumstances of food deserts – areas of very limited consumer choice – within a wider context of changing retail provision in other areas. This paper’s combined focus on retail competition and consumer choice shifts the emphasis from changing patterns of retail provision towards a more qualitative understanding of how “choice” is actually experienced by consumers at the local level “on the ground”. This argument has critical implications for current policy debates where the emphasis on monopolies and mergers at the national level needs to be brought together with the planning and regulation of retail provision at the local, neighbourhood level.

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