With few or no grocery stores in some New York City neighborhoods, many households make their food purchases at convenience stores and fast food franchises. These establishments often offer fewer healthy food options, and can lead to New Yorkers preparing and consuming fewer healthy meals. Recent research has linked the presence of a supermarket or a grocery store with a lower rate of neighborhood obesity. Greater availability of fresh food is also associated with lower prevalence of diet-related disease. Furthermore, food costs in neighborhoods with full-service grocery stores and supermarkets are often lower than in areas without these services.
The City, in partnership with the City Council, has established the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program. FRESH provides zoning and financial incentives to promote the establishment and retention of neighborhood grocery stores in underserved communities.
Eligible Grocery Stores
The program is open to grocery store operators renovating existing retail space, or developers seeking to construct or renovate retail space that will be leased by a full-line grocery store operator. Stores that benefit from the program must meet the following criteria:
(a) Provide a minimum of 6,000 square feet of retail space for a general line of food and nonfood grocery products intended for home preparation, consumption and utilization;
(b) Provide at least 50 percent of retail space for a general line of food products intended for home preparation, consumption and utilization;
(c) Provide at least 30 percent of retail space for perishable goods that may include dairy, fresh produce, fresh meats, poultry, fish and
frozen foods; and
(d) Provide at least 500 square feet of retail space for fresh produce.
All grocery store site plans must demonstrate that they are in compliance with the above criteria.
FRESH incentives are targeted to areas which are among the most underserved in New York City.