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

Melissa L. Horning, Leah R. Porter, Abdirahman Hassan, Erin Edson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: 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. Objective: 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. Design: Qualitative focus group research. Participants/setting: Four moderated and audio-recorded, qualitative focus groups with customers (n = 29) were held in community rooms at mobile market stops. Analysis: 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. Results: 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). Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1548-1556.e1
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
FUNDING/SUPPORT This research was funded by a Grant-in-Aid from the University of Minnesota , Office of the Vice President for Research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Focus groups
  • Food access
  • Health promotion
  • Nutrition
  • Underserved populations

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