Healthy Food Outlet Project

A Good Idea


The Healthy Food Outlet Project was created to help small markets, grocery stores, and supermarkets consistently provide healthy food options to their customers. The importance of fresh produce is emphasized in this project. Sonoma county is focused on this issue because the majority of premature deaths in the county are from chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes; the risk of developing these disease can be reduced through lifestyle modification, including, improving nutrition.

The Healthy Food Outlet Project was adopted in 2009 by the Community Activity and Nutrition Coalition of Sonoma County and is endorsed by Health Action. The project is designed to establish a standard of quality for participating food outlets based on the availability and quality of fresh produce, healthy food, and healthy advertising in stores. Once a participating food outlet has been assessed, the store receives a Food Center Quality Scorecard identifying areas that meet the standard and areas that need improvement. The food outlets are then encouraged to make changes in their store and these changes are supported by the toolkit that comes with project participation. After changes are made, a follow-up assessment is conducted to determine if the food outlet meets the requirements to be designated as a Healthy Food Outlet. Stores that receive the designation receive promotional materials and publicity to educate consumers about the Healthy Food Outlet recognition program. Annual assessments are conducted to verify compliance with program guidelines.

Requirements for a food outlet to be designated as a Healthy Food Outlet include: Providing a variety of good quality, fresh fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices; offering whole grain products, such as brown rice and whole grain bread; selling reduced fat dairy products, such as 1% or non-fat milk and lowfat cheese; offering lean cuts of meat, tofu, and/or fish; keeping alternatives to soda in stock, such as unsweetened tea, milk, water, and 100% juice; offering healthy snacks, like baked chips, nuts, and unsweetened dried fruits; limiting unhealthy items, such as candy and soda, in the checkout area; working with distributors to provide and prominently display products that are good tasting and healthier for customers; accepting vouchers for Food Stamps Program and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental food program.

Goal / Mission

To promote optimal nutritional and physical health for Sonoma County residents by increasing the availability and accessibility of healthy food, especially fresh produce.

Results / Accomplishments

A pilot project is currently being implemented in southeast Santa Rosa and Roseland (in southwest Santa Rosa).

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Chris Bekins
490 Mendocino Ave., Suite 202
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
(707) 565-6625
Health / Exercise, Nutrition, & Weight
Community Activity and Nutrition Coalition of Sonoma County
For more details