Lauren Chenarides Headshot

Lauren Chenarides completed her doctorate in agricultural, environmental, and regional economics at Pennsylvania State University, where she also taught courses in food products marketing. Her research interests are centered on food access, consumer store choice, and food retailer marketing behavior.

Her dissertation examined households’ choices of food retailers and how food retailers’ marketing strategy outcomes, such as the availability of food items, might exacerbate the hardships consumers face living in food deserts.

Chenarides is actively involved in scholarly associations, including the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, American Economic Association, and Northeast Agricultural and Resource Economics Association. Her most recent research, published in Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, explored the relationships between store formats, market structure, and consumers’ food shopping decisions.

Her research is motivated by persistent disparities in households’ food access, food choices, and health outcomes. Her general hypothesis is that many observed disparities cannot be adequately explained unless consumers’ demand-side behaviors and firms’ supply-side behaviors are both fully examined.

To investigate these issues, Chenarides most often works with micro-level scanner data that record both firms’ behavior, which are reflected by prices and product offerings, and consumers’ actions, which are reflected by store and product choices. While secondary data is at the core of Chenarides’ empirical research, she also utilizes primary data from consumer intercept surveys.


Research interests

  • The effects of market concentration on food retailer price markups
  • The major drivers of food retailer competition and profitability across the U.S.
  • Public policies to improve consumer welfare in urban food deserts
  • How each additional mile traveled to a supermarket affects the quantity and quality of healthy food items purchased
  • Whether online food shopping results in less food waste than traditional “offline” shopping at supermarkets
  • The effectiveness of promotional activities on the sale of specialty crops in Arizona and California
  • Food security in Native American communities in Arizona, and opportunities within the food supply network to address these
    and other relevant concerns


Student Activities

  • Faculty director on WPC 392 Business in Costa Rica, a field course that takes students through the coffee supply chain in Costa Rica
  • Future Farmers of America Food Safety Competition chair (Fall 2017)


Chenarides, L., and Jaenicke, E.C. (2018). Documenting the Link Between Poor Food Access and Less Healthy Product Assortment Across the U.S. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy,

Cleary, R.O., Bonanno, A., Chenarides, L., and Goetz, S.J. (2018). Store Profits and Public Policies to Improve Food Access in Non-Metro U.S. Counties. Food Policy, 75(2), 158-170, .

Volpe, R.J., III, Jaenicke, E.C., and Chenarides, L. (2018). Store Formats, Market Structure, and Consumers’ Food Shopping Decisions. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, .


Conference participation

Organizer: ‘New Trends in Food Retailing,’ Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting, August 2018, Washington, D.C.