College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

Public Administration


cross-cultural food consumption, affordable available healthy quality, ethnic grocery store(s), Chicago Illinois, NEMS-S


This paper explores the cultural and commercial role of ethnic grocery stores on food availability and consumption habits in the City of Chicago. By collecting data on the prices and inventory available at ethnic groceries, and applying the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey in Stores to these providers, it attempts to answer three basic questions: (i) What are the defining characteristics of ethnic grocery stores in Chicago? (ii) What effects do ethnic grocery stores have on a healthy, available, affordable, and quality food supply in the city? (iii) How do residents consume ethnic foods in their household? The answers suggest that ethnic stores not only contribute greatly to the cultural life of their neighborhoods, but they, when considered together with “hybrid ethnic" grocery stores (i.e., those which sell a substantial amount food from several cultures, including foods prevalent in American culture) provide a large portion of the food supply in Chicago. As a result, these stores promote the cross-cultural consumption of food and affect the economic vitality of the communities they serve.