To determine the effectiveness of adapting healthy food retail components for online delivery.
Use of Theory or Research
Small food retail stores that accept SNAP/EBT are important food sources for low-income Americans, especially in areas where traditional grocery stores are difficult to access. SNAP-Ed recognizes healthy food retail interventions as an approach to encourage healthy eating and support direct nutrition education.
Small food retail stores that accept SNAP/EBT in low-income census tracts were targeted.
Shop Smart Tennessee is an 8-week small food retail program that uses taste testing, educational handouts, and in-store marketing to encourage healthy customer selections. In response to COVID-19, in-store program components were modified for the pilot to be delivered on social media. Food demonstration videos were developed to replace taste testings, and educational handouts were translated to social media posts. Educators posted videos and educational content to the partnering store's Facebook page or tagged the store in posts.
To assess the effectiveness of online delivery methods we used participant surveys linked to food demonstration video posts, social media metrics, and nutrition educator feedback.
Five stores participated in this pilot. Thirty-seven videos were posted to Facebook with 4,320 views and 863 engagements. Forty-three people completed online participant surveys, with 89% (n = 38) responding they would likely make the recipe at home. Nutrition educator feedback suggested store managers were supportive of online delivery and that it was an acceptable alternative to in-store programming.
This pilot demonstrated that components of food retail programming can be adapted for social media. This method was well received by participants, store managers and nutrition educators. It allowed us to reach store customers from a different angle and can be used to inform future food retail work involving social media. Upcoming projects should focus on assessing impact of social media content delivery coupled with in-store engagement efforts.