Research Original Research: Brief| Volume 120, ISSUE 9, P1548-1556.e1, September 2020

Full-Service Twin Cities Mobile Market Impact: Qualitative Findings From Focus Groups With Customers



      Creative solutions are required to mitigate poor food access and related health disparities in underserved, at-risk populations because healthy food access is an important social determinant of health. Mobile markets (ie, mobile grocery stores) present a potential solution to mitigate poor food access and related health disparities. However, no research has yet evaluated the impact of a full-service mobile market that sells healthy items from all food groups and pantry staples in underserved communities.


      Therefore, the objective of this focus group research study was to inductively understand the impact of the full-service, Twin Cities Mobile Market, a mobile grocery store, that visits underserved, low-income communities.


      Qualitative focus group research.


      Four moderated and audio-recorded, qualitative focus groups with customers (n = 29) were held in community rooms at mobile market stops.


      Focus group transcripts were analyzed using Krueger’s systematic analysis process and content analysis to discover major categories and themes and subthemes within the categories.


      Findings indicate the full-service mobile market may facilitate purchase and eating of healthy foods through decreasing barriers and increasing access to quality, affordable healthy foods. Findings also indicate mobile market shopping may positively influence customer behaviors and health outcomes (eg, dietary intake and management of weight, diabetes, blood pressure, and mental health).


      Our results provide support for the potential impact of full-service mobile markets, encouraging continued mobile market service and future rigorous research on the effectiveness of the full-service mobile market model.


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      M. L. Horning is an assistant professor, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.


      L. R. Porter is director, Twin Cities Mobile Market, which was a program of Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, St Paul, MN. (The Twin Cities Mobile Market is now a program of The Food Group, New Hope, MN, as of March 2020.)


      A. Hassan is an RN, Huss Center for Recovery, People Incorporated, Minneapolis, MN; at the time of the study, he was a graduate research assistant, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.


      E. Edson is an RN, United Hospital, Allina Health, St Paul, MN; at the time of the study, she was an undergraduate research assistant, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.