The ‘food environment’ is a multi-faceted concept and people interact with it in various and complex ways.  As such, the specific impact of different interventions in improving the food environment for better health is difficult to ascertain.  This section describes a number of local approaches that may support a healthier food environment, through impacting on the different ‘influencers’ on dietary behaviour (see Figure 1 in the introduction to this section), based on available evidence and good practice.

Researchers advocate for public health professionals to work with retailers on changing the environment (such as changing the positioning of unhealthy snack foods) to make healthier choices more convenient, attractive and ‘normal’. [31] In relation to corner shops, models are needed to work with retailers to change the positioning and promotion of unhealthier food and drink options, without reducing the financial viability of these businesses. The majority of documented efforts to achieve this have been in the US. Initiatives such as the Buywell scheme in areas including Tower Hamlets have been successful in increasing sales of fruit and vegetables.A

A discussion of planning powers and other approaches to limit the proliferation of hot food takeaways in an area can also be found in the ‘Places and spaces’ section of this JSNA chapter. 1

The evidence and best practice information in this section is framed around the following headings:

Regulatory and policy measures

Improving catering in the public sector

Food poverty and support 

Food skills and perceptions

Food growing 


  1. Food for Health and Buy Well awards – 


  1. Local Government Association, “Tippng the scales; case studies on the use of planning powers to limit hot food takeaways,” 2016