Policy Summary

San Francisco established the Healthy Food Retailer Incentives Program to develop an incentive program for small food stores in underserved areas to sell healthy food, through technical assistance which could include training, assistance with permits and licenses, store redesign assistance, facade improvements, access to grants and loans. “Healthy Food Retailer[s]” are defined as food retailers who "(I) devote[] at least 35 percent of its Selling Area to fresh produce, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products, (2) devote[] no more than 20 percent of its Selling Area to tobacco and alcohol products, and (3) satisfy[y] the minimum wage requirements for employees set forth in Administrative Code Chapter 12R.” It does not apply to supermarkets, restaurants, formula retail stores, or stores that already meet the 35% standard.

Background Information

State California
Jurisdiction Name San Francisco
Jurisdiction Type City, County,
Population Size 800,000+
Legal Strategies
  • Creates an incentive for a change
  • Expressly allows something
Reach Community-wide
Food System Category Distribute; Get;

Policy Details

Refers to priority populations?

Residents of the City living in neighborhoods with high rates of obesity, poverty and chronic disease, a high concentration of seniors and families with children, and/or a relative lack of public transit. (Sec. 59.2(1))

Emergency management?
Health-related linkage?

Ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and hypertensive heart disease. (Sec. 59.2(1))

Environmental linkage?

Economic linkage?

Reflects a goal of helping healthy food retailers be economically viable, stating: "Small retailers also lack access to necessary technical assistance, incentives, training and sourcing systems to stock healthy foods and fresh produce and shift their business plans." (Sec. 59.2 (7) and (11)). Refers to "economic benefits such as supplying living-wage jobs raising the value of surrounding property, and anchoring and attracting additional businesses to the neighborhood. Small food stores promote foot traffic, which can increase sales for existing surrounding businesses. " (Sec. 59.2(8)).

Includes findings?

Discusses protecting public health by ensuring that healthy, fresh, sustainable, and affordable food is accessible to all residents of the City, particularly those living in neighborhoods with high rates of obesity, poverty and chronic disease, a high concentration of seniors and families with children, and/or a relative lack of public transit. Also discusses City's ongoing efforts to support healthy food retailers, and describes "a need to centralize and coordinate City-wide strategies to recruit and maintain new healthy food businesses, and ensure that existing food businesses are fully utilizing economic incentives and technical support. " (Sec. 59.2.)

Has a stated intent or purpose?

"The purpose of the Program shall be to increase access to healthy food; reduce unhealthy influences such as tobacco, alcohol and processed foods high in salt, fat, and sugar in underserved parts of the City; and stimulate economic development and job creation by creating incentives for Healthy Food Retailers to open or expand in those underserved areas. "(Sec. 59.4(b)).

Includes definitions?

(Sec. 59.3)

Addresses implementation?

The Director of the Department is authorized to adopt such rules and regulations, following any public hearing or notice that may be required by law, as the Director deems necessary and proper for the administration of the Program. (Sec. 59.5)

Enforcement provisions?

Evaluation component?

By January 1, 2014, and every year thereafter, the Department shall submit a written report to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors providing a summary of key Program achievements and challenges from the previous year, an accounting of all City funding for Healthy Food Retailer initiatives, and an inventory of City resources and programs relevant to Healthy Food Retailers in San Francisco. (Sec. 59.7)

Requires extra investment?

Program requires availability of technical assistance. See also this language: "It shall be City policy that for Fiscal Year 2013-14, the City shall maintain current staffing levels so as to ensure that there is at least the equivalent of a total of one full-time staff person in the Department and/or the Department of Public Health to support coordination of Healthy Food Retail programs among City agencies and community stakeholders." (Sec. 59.6.)

Code context and ordinance history

Administrative Code, Chapter 59, Healthy Food Retailer Ordinance. History: Ordinance No. 193-13, File No. 120966, adding Chapter 59, Sections 59.1 - 59.9, to establish a Healthy Food Retailer Incentives Program to oversee and coordinate the City's incentive and assistance programs for Healthy Food Retailers (Sept. 9, 2013). Subsequently amended by Ord. No. 235-14, File No. 140844 (Jan. 26, 2014).


Help us improve this site!

Help us improve this website by taking a quick two-minute survey.