Retail Program

California Department of Public Health


The Retail Program is a partnership between the Department of Public Health, local community health agencies, and neighborhood stores in California. This partnership aims to increase the availability, quality, affordability, and consumption of fruits and vegetables in low-income Californian communities. The Retail Program provides small-store retailers statewide with a unique variety of tools, resources, and outreach activities to inspire healthy change among their customer base. The program also provides retailers opportunities to increase fruit and vegetable sales, therefore improving their bottom line.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: PSE Change, Social Marketing

Intervention Reach and Adoption

The Retail Program facilitates partnerships between qualifying neighborhood stores and local health departments throughout the state of California to help increase the purchase, and consumption, of fruits and vegetables among CalFresh (formerly Food Stamps) eligible Californians.  Typical partners include independent grocers, corner stores, and small- to medium-size grocery chains in neighborhoods where 50% of more of residents are Cal-Fresh eligible.

Setting: Community, Retail (neighborhood stores)

Age: Adults

Race/Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

The level of implementation depends on the store. At a minimum, stores must promote healthy options by displaying merchandising materials such as posters, newsletters, recipe cards, or in-store audio. With assistance from a “Local Retail Specialist” from a community health agency, stores can also host 4-hour in-store food demonstrations, store tours, and other community-based events. Local Retail Specialists provide food demonstrations and store tours for a cost, but some sites may qualify for free food demonstrations and store tours. To encourage program sustainability, the Local Retail Specialist can train the store’s staff on how to conduct food demonstrations and store tours.

Intervention Materials

Materials such as posters, newsletters, recipe cards, or in-store audio are ordered through the store’s local county health department. Certain sites may qualify for free materials. Additionally, there are several free resources available online, including a merchandising menu, produce quick tips, healthy drinks and snacks signs, in-store radio clips, and harvest of the month resources. Visit this website to access the free resources:

Intervention Costs

Materials are available at no cost.

Evidence Summary

  • According to a 2011 California Retail Intervention Study, shoppers at stores with both cooking demonstrations and merchandising materials were more likely to purchase one of the promoted fresh produce items than shoppers at control stores (n=15). Cooking demonstrations also appeared to be associated with greater shopper awareness of merchandising materials.
  • Additionally, according to a 2013 report, low-income Californian adults who reported regular access to quality, affordable fruits and vegetables in their neighborhood (Always/Often/Sometimes) reported higher intake of fruits and vegetables than those with limited access (Seldom/ Never) (2.6 cups versus 2.1 cups, respectively; p=.05).
  • A 2015 study conducted by the Public Health Institute’s Center for Wellness and Nutrition reported that on average, the Retail program produced a 4.3% increase in produce sales among the intervention retail stores compared to control stores:

Classification: Research-tested

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Environmental Settings MT5 LT5
Sectors of Influence MT12 LT18

Evaluation Materials

Currently, no evaluation materials are publicly available.

Additional Information

Website: The California Retail Program website ( includes a Retail Program overview and a contact for more information.

Contact Person(s):

Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch
California Department of Public Health
Phone: (916)-449-5400