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CityLab Daily: Mapping Grocery Delivery’s Reach into Food Deserts

Also today: TKTK, and Mexico’s hottest resort towns struggle with Covid travel boom.

A man walk past Amazon Fresh trucks parked at a warehouse in Inglewood, California. Expanded delivery service during the pandemic now means that most people in food deserts have some access to grocery delivery.

A man walk past Amazon Fresh trucks parked at a warehouse in Inglewood, California. Expanded delivery service during the pandemic now means that most people in food deserts have some access to grocery delivery.

Photographer: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America

As delivery apps became popular during the pandemic, their reach expanded across the U.S. — including into food deserts where low-income Americans have limited access to physical grocery and food stores. A new analysis from the Brookings Institution of delivery zone data from Amazon, Instacart, Uber Eats and Walmart found that the majority of people living in these deserts can theoretically get prepared foods or fresh groceries through at least one of the four major online food delivery platforms. 

This creates an opportunity for delivery food apps to be a useful tool in combating food insecurity. But researchers tell me that affordability and digital connectivity remain barriers to guaranteeing everyone access to these services. Today on CityLab: Food Delivery Apps Now Have Expansive Reach in Food Deserts