Online grocery shopping could improve access to healthy food, but it may not be equally accessible to all populations-especially those at higher risk for food insecurity. This study aimed to compare the sociodemographic characteristics of families who ordered groceries online versus those who only shopped in-store.
We analyzed enrollment survey and 44 weeks of individually-linked grocery transaction data. We used univariate chi-square and t-tests and logistic regression to assess differences in sociodemographic characteristics between households that only shopped in-store and those that shopped online with curbside pick-up (online only or online and in-store).
Two Maine supermarkets.
863 parents or caregivers of children under 18 years old enrolled in two fruit and vegetable incentive trials.
Participants had a total of 32 757 transactions. In univariate assessments, online shoppers had higher incomes (P<0.0001), were less likely to participate in WIC or SNAP (P<0.0001), and were more likely to be female (P=0.04). Most online shoppers were 30-39 years old, and few were 50 years or older (P=0.003). After controlling for age, gender, race/ethnicity, number of children, number of adults, income, and SNAP participation, female primary shoppers (OR=2.75, P=0.003), number of children (OR=1.27, P=0.04), and income (OR=3.91 for 186-300% FPL and OR=6.92 for >300% FPL, P<0.0001) were significantly associated with likelihood of shopping online.
In this study of Maine families, low-income shoppers were significantly less likely to utilize online grocery ordering with curbside pick-up. Future studies could focus on elucidating barriers and developing strategies to improve access.