Food Supply Chain Analytics and Sensing Initiative

Access to Healthy Food

Project 1:

Professors Retsef Levi and Georgia Perakis, with their PhD student Elisabeth Paulson, are currently looking at food deserts in the United States. The goal is to effectively increase fruit and vegetable consumption among low income households, with the goal of improving health outcomes. Their continued research into household grocery shopping decision-making and how it is impacted by different types of interventions will constitute a step towards optimizing and effectively targeting interventions to households and neighborhoods. In addition to consumer-level interventions, Levi, Paulson, and Perakis are also considering how to increase the throughput of fresh fruits and vegetables in the perishable supply chain, starting by reducing food loss on farms. Each year in the U.S., millions (and by some estimates, billions) of pounds of edible fresh produce are never harvested due to various supply chain and economic factors. Understanding the root causes of this food loss and determining effective interventions to reduce it will impact both the availability of fruits and vegetables to consumers as well as improve the viability of small- to mid-size fruit and vegetable farmers. While this research is currently in the United States, with access to similar international datasets, it can be translated to any global locality.

Food deserts in Los Angeles County are colored by average "value of nutrition".