New Brunswick No Longer a Food Desert Thanks to Key Food Grand Opening

By: Nicolette Accardi

New Brunswick has opened a new grocery store this past year at the convenient location of Kirkpatrick Street to replace Fresh Grocer that was there earlier this year.

Key Food is the grocery store that filled the vacant space that was in the New Brunswick Health and Wellness Plaza where Fresh Grocer, which closed down in May 2014 due to owing $800,000 in rent, used to be located.

In April, New Brunswick Parking Authority approved a 20-year lease for the space.

According to a press release done by the city of New Brunswick, the Director of Food and Beverage for Key Food Marketplace in New Brunswick, Stephanie Kim, aims for affordable prices for the New Brunswick community.

“Our goals are simple: Good, fresh food, affordable prices and active involvement in the communities that we serve,” Kim said.

Mayor Jim Cahill is also very pleased to be able to provide New Brunswick with this resource.

“We’re pleased to be able to offer this resource to the New Brunswick community and look forward to being able to reap the benefits of its offerings of healthy, fresh food,” said Cahill.

Residents will no longer have to travel to neighboring towns such as Highland Park and Edison to shop for affordable groceries. The nearest grocery stores before Key Food were Bravo and the Stop & Shop in Highland Park.

“The fact that I can now walk to get fresh produce and simple items like meat and baked goods is great. I feel like it is now definitely easier to eat healthy with a supermarket here,” said New Brunswick resident Christine Tynes. “There is a lot of temptation with restaurants on every corner, but now there is no excuse because people can buy their food from the market.”

The store sells a number of items, including fresh produce, meat, baked goods, seafood and international foods. There is also a fresh juice bar and a bistro.

New Brunswick is a place full of endless food options, which some contribute to why the city was missing a grocery store for so long.

“The city of New Brunswick has multiple delis and small businesses on almost every street,” said New Brunswick resident Malik Hussein. “New Brunswick is a food desert, or used to be a food desert I should say and really needed this food store.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, food deserts are defined as urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy and affordable food.

“I think this food store is really good for the Rutgers students as well,” Hussein said. “Kids living off-campus don’t have to go all the way to Target or Stop & Shop to just get food.”

Rutgers University students with off-campus housing can save money by buying their own groceries versus purchasing a meal plan that could cost up to $1,925-$2,600.

Students on a meal plan can still take advantage of the new Key Food Store. Instead of wasting money on meals or less, they can purchase food items in bulk for cheap.

First-year student Kaelyn Wycoff said she enjoys going to the new food store to get fresh food to bring back to her dormitory.

“I truly enjoy how there’s a place so close to campus where I can buy fresh food,” Wyckoff said. “I buy fresh produce in bulk such as oranges, apples and carrots as well as snack foods.”

Key Food is based in Staten Island and provides service to New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.