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Presentation Time: 10:40-11:00
Home University: UNC-Chapel Hill
Research Mentor: Shu Wen Ng, Nutrition
Program: SURF
Research Title: Urban and Rural Purchasing Patterns of SNAP Participants in North Carolina

Urban and rural residents have different food environments and different resources available to them. Research has shown that healthy foods are more likely to be more expensive in rural areas and less accessible. SNAP beneficiaries may face particular barriers from purchasing healthy foods due to their limited budgets. We used existing de-identified transaction data from a large grocery chain with nearly 500 stores throughout North Carolina to look at SNAP purchases from rural vs urban stores from October 2019 through December 2020. We are interested in understanding if rural stores contribute to more/less healthy purchases (fruits and vegetables with and without additives) or unhealthy purchases (sugary beverages) by SNAP participants compared to urban stores. We will also investigate if these differences widened or narrowed since COVID. We have organized the large amount of transaction level data, conducted data diagnostics, layered on auxiliary data and created relevant measures/variables for analyses. We will be conducting descriptive and regression-based modeling over the next month.