The reduction in local store numbers has transformed large swathes of the UK into 'food deserts', where people have to travel lengthy distances to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables, according to a new study.
Research undertaken by Harper Adams University College found that about 20% of rural areas and 25% of urban areas fitted the description of food deserts, where people had to walk more than 500m in order to purchase fresh produce.
Even market towns such as Shrewsbury and Winchester have pockets of nutritional barrenness, it revealed.
Deprived urban housing estates and people with mobility problems are particularly affected.