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Access to healthy food in Nantes, France

Hillary Shaw (Department of Business Management and Marketing, Harper Adams University College, Newport, UK)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 10 February 2012




The purpose of this paper is to investigate access to grocery retailing in Nantes, France.


The spatial distribution of all grocery retailers in Nantes was mapped. Socio‐demographic data as supplied by INSEE was mapped for Nantes, and these data used to determine areas of poor access to healthy food, e.g. fresh fruit and vegetables retailing.


There are six areas of Nantes which appear to have both poor physical access to grocery retailing and a socio‐demographic profile which suggests people living there may have difficulties in travelling to remote shops. These six areas generally do not coincide with the officially‐recognised ZUS deprived areas of Nantes.

Research limitations/implications

Data on obesity and related medical conditions were absent from INSEE, limiting the analysis that could be performed. The data were also liable to errors such as MAUP and ecological fallacy; however, the spatial detail was sufficient for meaningful conclusions to be drawn.

Practical implications

Previous food and dietary research in France has concentrated on economic factors mediating diet. There has been less research on spatial access to food and any correlations with areas of poverty or areas with other populations, e.g. pensioners, who may find travel to remote shops difficult. This research investigates these spatial linkages. Officially‐recognised areas of poverty in Nantes (ZUS areas) are not the areas presenting the most problematical physical access to healthy food retailing, therefore research based on financial aspects alone may miss some areas of difficult food access.


The spatial patterns of food access in Nantes, and the implications for targeting research and policy initiatives to these areas, have not previously been researched.



Shaw, H. (2012), "Access to healthy food in Nantes, France", British Food Journal, Vol. 114 No. 2, pp. 224-238.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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