Resident Survey Summary

This survey aimed to answer two main questions about the residents in the neighborhoods adjacent to the former Kroger stores: 

How did the closures impact shopping ability and access to food? 

What are the shopping preferences of residents?  

The results intend to provide insights for both food access initiatives and for the startup, expansion or attraction of future grocery stores. 

918 people responded to the survey, with 245 (27%) respondents living in 61603, 130 (14%) in 61604, and 245 (27%) in 61605.  620 (68%) survey respondents were from impacted zip code.

It is important to note that this survey is based on a convenience sampling process. Participants were not randomly selected from the Peoria area or the neighborhoods served by the Kroger stores that closed in 2018. Given that, it is important to note that participants self selected and that they may be less diverse in terms of their grocery shopping needs and habits than the overall population of interest. Learn more about the survey process in the methods section of this report.

Respondents represent an ethnically diverse population, with significant participation from the Black or African American residents from Southside and East Bluff neighborhoods. You can see from the charts provided there similarities and differences when comparing respondents to census data.  

Key descriptors for those who shopped at Harmon Highway and Wisconsin avenue.

63% of respondents were between 25-64 years of age, 13% of respondents were over 64 years of age

323 (35%) Households with children under the age of 18 ,when we  look at families impacted from the Southside or East Bluff Neighborhoods roughly half of respondents who shopped at either location are living with someone under the age of 18.

588 (64%) of all survey respondents regularly shopped at one of the closed Kroger stores.  

Of those, 285 indicated that they shopped at Wisconsin Avenue Kroger location with:

175 respondents (61%) residing in 61603;

25 respondents (8%) residing in 61604,

21 respondents (8%) residing in 61605

Of the 284 who indicated that they shopped at Harmon Highway Kroger location

177 respondents (62%) reside in 61605

6 respondents (2%) reside in 61606

7 respondents (2%) reside in 61603

30 respondents (11%) reside in 61604

The closures had an impact on access; Most were adjusting, but some continued to struggle.

Survey respondents from both the East Bluff and the South Side indicated that the closing of Kroger store impacted their ability to get the groceries they need, but the majority are adjusting.

For those who had one of the closed Kroger locations as their primary grocery (OFTEN or ALWAYS) • 42% of respondents who shopped the Harmon Highway location and 36% of respondents who shopped the Wisconsin Avenue location indicating they were still struggling to adjust at the time of the survey.

While both the Southside and East Bluff Neighborhoods meet the USDA criteria for food deserts, for the most part, families have readily found a nearby grocery alternative.  Some choosing another Kroger store, while for others Aldis and Hy Vee have become their new grocer (Q4). Yet there is still a keen interest in having a neighborhood grocery store with  81% of respondents indicating a willingness to shop in a new local store within 15 minute walking distance.

660 (75%) of all respondents said they need a new grocery story (Q7). 526 (92%) of survey respondents who used to primarily shop at the Harmon or Wisconsin locations indicated a need for a new grocery store in their area.

Transportation remains a critical issue in access to healthy foods.  While the majority of individuals drive or ride with another family member or friend, access by bus follows national patterns with around 12% of the respondents indicating travel by bus for groceries. Since the closings, respondents reported increased travel by vehicle to purchase groceries and a reduction in walking.  Although respondents have chosen alternative places to shop, there are now additional travel expenses. (Q8 & Q9 comparison of “always” columns)

Walking to the grocery store was reported as a mode of transportation for approximately 5% of respondents.   Yet there is still a keen interest in having a neighborhood grocery store with 484 (88%) of respondents who previously shopped at the Harmon or Wisconsin locations indicating a willingness to shop in a new local store within 15 minute walking distance (Q17)

Preferred type of grocery for all respondents was a conventional grocery store (Q21) with approximately 75% of respondents indicating this preference, followed by a large retail store at 47% and discount grocer preferred by 45% of respondents.  

Respondents placed the highest values on the following food items as most important factors in where they get groceries - offers fresh produce, offers fresh meats, dairy and eggs, and is a regular grocery not just a convenient store, and offers a wide variety of options.  (Q20)

As is indicated by the map, the Peoria/ East Peoria area provides access to all these types of grocery outlets within a 4-mile radius of the neighborhoods.  Convenience stores were near the bottom of the list as a place to shop for groceries with 12% of respondents indicating they often shopped there.

Ease of access to healthy food remains the most critical concern,with research clearly demonstrating the food environment influences consumer food selection and health outcomes (Beaulac et al., 2009, Gustafson et al., 2013).

Survey respondents echoed these concerns with only 48% of all respondents indicating their household has access to healthy food (33% for respondents who shopped Harmon Highway and 47% for respondents who shopped Wisconsin Avenue Kroger Stores previously) (Q 26) and 43% of all respondents indicating someone in their household can afford to buy all the food needed for me and my family (37% for respondents who shopped Harmon Highway and 42% for respondents who shopped Wisconsin Avenue Kroger Stores previously).   For those who shopped at either Wisconsin or Harmon Highway Kroger locations access to to healthy food was slightly lower with 41% of respondents

While overwhelmingly respondents 75% (Q7) indicated the need for a nearby store that offers fresh meats, dairy 89% and fresh produce 88% (Q20).  

Being able to afford fresh foods remains a critical concern for families.  Approximately 49% of respondents indicated that they were either likely or very likely to get their groceries from a food pantry if available in their neighborhood.  (Q19) For those who shopped the Harmon Highway Kroger location, 52% of respondents indicated the same concern, and similar for those who shopped the Wisconsin Avenue location 45% of respondents indicating they are likely or very likely to get food from a food pantry.

Approximately 42% of respondents reported getting their groceries at a food pantry sometimes or often (Q21 ) For those who previously shopped Harmon Highway Kroger 47%  and Wisconsin Avenue Kroger 40% indicating they sometimes or often received groceries from a food pantry with the most frequent response being sometimes.

-food pantries (Q21) broken out by Q26, 29, 30 seniors and households with children by location shopped.


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