Understanding the Intersection of Race/Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Status, and Geographic Location: A Scoping Review of U.S. Consumer Food Purchasing

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Disparities in diet quality persist in the U.S. Examining consumer food purchasing can provide unique insight into the nutritional inequities documented by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES), and geographic location (i.e., urban vs. rural). There remains limited understanding of how these three factors intersect to influence consumer food purchasing. This study aimed to summarize peer-reviewed scientific studies that provided an intersectional perspective on U.S. consumer food purchasing. Thirty-four studies were examined that presented objectively measured data on purchasing outcomes of interest (e.g., fruits, vegetables, salty snacks, sugar-sweetened beverages, Healthy Eating Index, etc.). All studies were of acceptable or high quality. Only six studies (17.6%) assessed consumer food purchases at the intersection of race/ethnicity, SES, or geographic location. Other studies evaluated racial/ethnic or SES differences in food purchasing or described the food and/or beverage purchases of a targeted population (example: low-income non-Hispanic Black households). No study assessed geographic differences in food or beverage purchases or examined purchases at the intersection of all three factors. Overall, this scoping review highlights the scarcity of literature on the role of intersectionality in consumer food and beverage purchasing and provides recommendations for future studies to grow this important area of research.

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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

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