Part Discount Grocer, Part Social Connection: Defining Elements of Social Supermarkets

Tahna Lee Pettman, Katherine Pontifex, Carmel P. Williams, Deborah Wildgoose, Carolyn Dent, Gavin Fairbrother, James Chapman, Rory Spreckley, Ian Goodwin-Smith, Svetlana Bogomolova

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The community sector performs an important function in providing emergency food relief, yet food insecurity is often a chronic issue due to poverty and social exclusion. Progressive food provision models present opportunities to improve voluntary food relief services that are dominant in many countries. Informed by research with clients indicating a preference for blended service models that go beyond food provision, two government agencies partnered with a social enterprise and academics to pilot a social supermarket model. This research article (a) briefly summarizes international evidence on social supermarkets’ characteristics and offerings, (b) describes a process used to collaboratively develop a social supermarket incorporating universal access and social supports, and (c) presents a rubric defining elements of a social supermarket. Applicable to other community sector settings, the rubric emphasizes dignified access and service, plus opportunities for social support and connection, which are important elements in pathways out of food insecurity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Australia
  • collaboration
  • food insecurity
  • food relief
  • social enterprise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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