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Associated Press
Fresh produce is displayed at the Indiana Food Market, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Group aims to improve food at Pa. corner stores

Associated Press
Customer Alvaro Maduro, left, speaks with Maria Vanegas with The Food Trust about whole grain tortillas at the Indiana Food Market, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Associated Press
Customers walk to the the Indiana Food Market, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

– Free food samples are the last thing shoppers might expect at a convenience store in tough north Philadelphia.

But the Indiana Food Market is not a typical convenience store. It recently offered customers slices of homemade whole-wheat pizza through the Healthy Corner Stores Initiative.

The program aims to teach residents about nutritious food options through outreach efforts like cooking demonstrations.

Corner groceries are a critical source of food in many poor urban neighborhoods without full-service supermarkets. But experts say much of the inventory is fattening and lacks nutrients.

City health officials and the nonprofit Food Trust have been trying to change that.

About 650 corner stores in Philadelphia have broadened their inventory to include fresh produce, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Early data indicates the healthy items are selling.

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