Alleviating food disparities with mobile retailers: Dissecting the problem from an or perspective

Christopher Wishon, Jesus Villalobos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Within the past 20 years, disparities in access to healthy and affordable foods have been observed within urban communities leading to significant negative health and diet related repercussions. One recent technique to alleviate such conditions is to introduce a mobile food retailer within the community but preliminary evidence raises concerns regarding this retail format. While extensive literature exists regarding other alleviation strategies, research on mobile food retailers has been sparse. To facilitate new research into the efficacy and deployment of mobile food retailers, operations research tools are outlined and discussed. These tools specifically address the product mix and the routing plan of the retailer as these decisions represent the greatest barriers to success for current retailers. A set of potential tools is developed and employed within a preliminary case study in a Phoenix, Arizona community and the results demonstrate the utility of the methodology by identifying changes to both the product mix and routing plan which could result in greater earnings potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-164
Number of pages11
JournalComputers and Industrial Engineering
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Decision support systems
  • Knapsack problem
  • OR in agriculture
  • OR in service industries
  • Vehicle routing problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)


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