Search for healthier food in SF Tenderloin easier 4 years into program

While finding fresh fruits and vegetables may be easy in most neighborhoods, it's not so easy for those living in San Francisco's Tenderloin.

A new study by the San Francisco Public Health Department found there have been improvements in the quality of some grocery stores, but there is still a long way to go.

"Most of the corner stores are just alcohol, chips, junk food," said one resident.

But that is slowly changing. At Radman's Market on Turk Street, fresh fruit and vegetables, once a rare sight in the Tenderloin, now fills the store's cases.

There's a meat counter, rotisserie chickens, and healthy snacks by the cash register instead of candy.

These features may be taken for granted in most neighborhoods, but many residents here appreciate them.

"You have access to cold cuts fresh meats, vegetables. It helps for the little ones to eat healthier," said Francisco Esparza a father of three.
The store owner says there's good money in good food.

"We're seeing more people buy more fruits and vegetables. Definitely our sales have gone up 100 percent from three years ago," said Fadhl Radman,

The health department study shows its four-year-old Healthy Retail San Francisco Program has had a positive effect in the Tenderloin.
Five grocery stores are now selling healthy food, when five years ago none were.

Also, more stores have at least started selling fresh produce.

The program has helped the stores get started and launched an outreach campaign to educate shoppers in the neighborhood.

"Before residents had to travel over a mile to get a tomato. Now since the healthy retail program started they can walk down from their apartment to purchase every day groceries," said Lisa Juachon of the non-profit Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition.

Neighborhood advocates are hoping more stores in the Tenderloin begin offering better choices.

But the city's new report says more stores are still selling alcohol then non-fat milk.

"Many of them assume if they don't sell alcohol they will be out of business. And that is wrong. People have to eat to survive," said Radman.