Point-of-Purchase Messages Framed in Terms of Cost, Convenience, Taste, and Energy Improve Healthful Snack Selection in a College Foodservice Setting
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OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of a point-of-purchase (POP) intervention emphasizing various properties of healthful food items on college students' snack purchases. DESIGN: In Study 1, vegetable baskets (containing cut pieces of vegetables), fruit baskets (containing cut pieces of fruit), pretzels, and yogurt were promoted in separate POP interventions. Food sales were monitored over 2-week baseline, 4-week intervention, and 2-week follow-up periods. In Study 2, yogurt was promoted across a 2-week baseline, 12-week intervention, and 2-week follow-up periods and an intercept survey was conducted. SUBJECTS/SETTING: Approximately 2,280 university students were potentially exposed to the intervention, and 72 students responded to the intercept survey. INTERVENTION: POP messages were placed on an 11 x 17-in poster located at the cafeteria entrance, and two 4 x 2.5-in signs placed next to the targeted food item. Messages emphasized the Budget-friendly, Energizing, Sensory/taste, Time efficient/convenient (BEST) stimulus properties of food. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Daily sales of the targeted food items. STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: Analyses of variance with Tukey post hoc tests were used to compare food sales during the baseline, intervention, and follow-up periods. RESULTS: In Study 1, yogurt and pretzel sales increased during the intervention and post-intervention periods (P<.05). Interventions had no effect on fruit basket and vegetable basket sales (P>.05), but whole fruit sales increased during the fruit basket intervention and follow-up (P<.05). In Study 2, yogurt sales were significantly greater during the intervention and follow-up periods than at baseline (P<.01). APPLICATIONS/CONCLUSIONS: Using the BEST properties in POP interventions may be beneficial in promoting the consumption of healthful foods among university students, particularly when the targeted foods are priced comparably to less healthful foods.