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P91 Pilot Test of Supporting Wellness at Pantries (SWAP): Clients Chose Healthier Foods after Implementation

      Background

      The US food banking network serves about 46.5 million individuals with food insecurity yearly. People living with food insecurity are at risk of diet-related chronic diseases and evidence suggests that foods available in food pantries are mostly nutritionally poor. In response, the Supporting Wellness at Pantries (SWAP) system ranks food into green, yellow, and red categories based on the levels of saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. SWAP is designed to increase the supply and demand for healthy food in pantries.

      Objective

      To assess the nutritional quality of clients’ selections before and after implementing the SWAP system.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      Availability of green, yellow, and red items was captured pre- and post-intervention using a pantry inventory assessment. For the intervention, foods in the pantry were rearranged by SWAP ranking and signage was added to educate clients about which items to choose often (green), sometimes (yellow), or rarely (red). Two-hundred twenty-two clients participated in the pre-post study.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Clients’ selections were recorded and the proportion of green and red selections in total and per food group were calculated. Primary analyses compared the proportion of green and red foods chosen by clients before and after SWAP implementation using independent t-tests. A regression model was used to compare clients’ selection pre to post while controlling for food pantry inventory.

      Results

      There was not a significant change in the overall pantry inventory over time. However, the proportion of healthy (ie, green) food selections significantly increased and less healthy (ie, red) food selections significantly decreased. The overall improvement in nutritional quality of the clients’ carts remained significant while controlling for the pantry inventory.

      Conclusions

      Results suggest that nutrition information provided through stoplight signage and clear messages on items to choose often, sometimes, and rarely can shift client choices in the pantry setting.
      Funding Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP) Seed Grant.

      Appendix. Supplementary data