Abstract| Volume 54, ISSUE 7, SUPPLEMENT , S18-S19, July 2022

P003 Feasibility of Using MMCA Strategies to Promote Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Selection and Prevent Food Waste in Food Pantries

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      Fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV) are often discarded by food pantries due to perishability. Emerging research documents the effectiveness of marketing-mix and choice-architecture (MMCA) strategies to increase client selection of FFV and reduce food waste in food pantries.


      To explore perceptions of Virginia food pantry personnel on the feasibility of implementing MMCA strategies to improve clients’ selection of FFV and decrease food waste during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      A cross-sectional, 24-item online survey was conducted with food pantry personnel representing 68 food pantries in Virginia. Participants were recruited through existing partnerships with SNAP-Ed and EFNEP employees between April to May 2021. The survey examined food distribution methods, perceived feasibility of 15 MMCA sub-strategies, and factors explaining the feasibility of MMCA strategies.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Descriptive statistics were used to describe food pantry characteristics, food distribution methods, and feasible MMCA sub-strategies. Binary logistic regression tests determined factors predicting perceived feasibility of MMCA sub-strategies.


      Over three-quarters of food pantries (n = 55, 80.9%) distributed food using a touchless, pre-packed method to support safety measures, which limited the feasibility of implementing most MMCA sub-strategies. Regardless of distribution method, offering recipe cards (promotion) was the most feasible sub-strategy (80.6%). Of the 18 (26.5%) food pantries that reported using the client-choice distribution method, feasible sub-strategies included placing FFV in attractive baskets (83.3%) (place) and increasing the number of FFV clients can select (83.3%) (pricing). Factors predicting the (in)feasibility of MMCA strategies included the perception that these strategies were effective in helping clients make healthier choices and misalignment of strategies with current food pantry food distribution method.


      To increase the adoption of MMCA strategies, researchers and practitioners need to match MMCA strategies with perceptions of food pantry staff and food pantry distribution methods. Future research could examine required implementation resources, client acceptability and sustainability of MMCA strategies, and the potential of these strategies to reduce food waste within food pantries and clients’ households.


      Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education; Virginia Tech Department of Human Nutrition, Food, and Exercise