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P5 The Baltimore Urban Food Distribution (BUD) Pilot Study: A Food Systems Intervention Leveraging Technology and Community-Based Strategies

      Background

      Under-resourced urban communities in the United States commonly lack access to healthy foods, largely due to a food system that favors the provision of calorie-dense processed foods to main food sources. The Baltimore Urban food Distribution (BUD) study is a multi-level, multi-component systems intervention that leverages technology to move fresh foods from local suppliers to corner stores located in food-scarce neighborhoods of Baltimore, Maryland.

      Objective

      To develop, pilot test, and evaluate the BUD application (app) among 1 producer and 2-3 corner stores.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      Formative research to design the BUD app began in 2016 and is ongoing. We will recruit 2-3 corner stores to participate in a first-round pilot test. These stores will receive subsidized kale and mustard greens through in-app purchasing and delivery directly from the supplier between May 1-July 31, 2021. Point-of-purchase marketing strategies (shelf-talkers, recipe cards, display cases) will increase consumer awareness and demand. Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and XD will aid in the design of the app user interface. Google Firebase will ensure security of in-app purchasing and data tracking.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      This first-round pilot test will be evaluated pre- and post-intervention at the supplier- and retailer-levels using structured impact questionnaires, and open-ended questions. Quantitative analyses will assess number of promoted items ordered, stocked, and sold biweekly, and daily app usage, captured in-app.

      Results

      Stakeholders (n = 27) at multiple levels of the food system found a prototype of the app to have high feasibility for use, demonstrating particular support for collective purchasing and delivery. This pilot test will further identify psychosocial changes, biweekly stocking and sales data, daily app usage, and key challenges and strengths of the app.

      Conclusion

      BUD uniquely intervenes at multiple levels of the local food system. This first-round pilot test will inform a randomized controlled trial set to begin in Fall 2021 among a sample of 38 corner stores.
      Funding NIH.

      Appendix. Supplementary data