Healthy Corner Stores Go International
The Healthy Corner Store (HCS) Project in St. Louis hit a new milestone with the inclusion of its first Hispanic store. El Torito Supermercado on Cherokee Street joins Shaw Market, Manchester Market and Regal III as a healthy corner store.
When it comes to health, one of the goals of the Healthy Corner Store Project is to ensure access to healthy, affordable foods for all. To do that, it is important to ensure our health messages have broad reach within the population. Unfortunately, language barriers may limit how well some area residents can access healthy messages. Gaining El Torito as a healthy corner store helps to remedy that problem, especially for the growing, local Hispanic population.
El Torito currently serves a predominantly Hispanic population. In fact, people travel from as far away as St. Charles County and Illinois to shop at this supermarket. When you visit, you understand why. Voted the best Mexican Supermarket in 2011 by the Riverfront Times, El Torito currently stocks a wide variety of traditional Mexican foods and many healthy options. His store attracts the population, but they still aren't getting the health messages to promote making the best choices given their available options.
In order to get the desired health messages to the population, the healthy corner store materials needed a few adjustments from the usual implementation. All healthy corner store signage was made bilingual so that it was informative for the majority Hispanic customer base as well as the minority non-Hispanic customers. In-store tastings incorporated recipes with traditional Hispanic foods as key ingredients. Recipes were dual-sided with one side in Spanish and the other in English. Elizabeth Warner from the University of Missouri Extension was on-site at each tasting to provide translation services for the Hispanic customers. To continue the healthy corner store messaging, the store owner was provided with reusable HCS grocery bags to give away to his customers.
All these changes were designed to promote healthy eating to a population that is sometimes missed by health messaging due to language barriers. Through these changes and continued healthy corner store activity by the store owner, we can impact this population in a positive way. Hopefully we can also begin to reduce some of the diet-related, health disparities experienced within our Hispanic community.
City of St. Louis
Department of Health