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P145 Assessing Willingness-to-Pay for Meal Kits in Rural and Suburban Communities

      Background

      Families with low-income face barriers to cooking and eating healthy meals. Meal kits help reduce barriers to cooking and eating well by simplifying shopping, decision making, and meal preparation. While meal kits have become popular, cost may be a barrier. Additional research is needed to determine how meal kits should be priced to reach families with low income and if pricing structures should vary by community.

      Objective

      To determine whether willingness-to-pay (WTP) for a healthy meal kit service changes among participants with low income residing in rural and suburban communities after a meal kit intervention.

      Study Design, Settings, Participants

      Rural (n = 43) and suburban (n = 31) adult participants with low income and at least one child in the home received one meal kit weekly that included ingredients for three recipes along with recipe cards/videos, cooking tools, and nutrition education handouts.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Demographic characteristics were collected at baseline and analyzed using descriptive statistics. WTP data were collected at baseline and post-intervention and were analyzed using independent samples t-tests and paired samples t-tests.

      Results

      Participants were 42.3 ± 12.5 years old, primarily female (89.2%), had a household income less than $25,000 (66.2%), and experienced food insecurity (70.3%). Participant demographics were similar across suburban and rural sites. WTP for three meals increased significantly from $45.39 ±18.46 at baseline to $51.29 ± 14.92 post-intervention (P = 0.015) for all participants. There were no differences in WTP between participants living in suburban and rural communities.

      Conclusions

      A higher WTP for three meals post-intervention suggests that participants perceived the meal kits positively. Because WTP did not differ by community, a consistent pricing structure may be appropriate. Future research should continue to investigate the participant's WTP for healthy meal kits across different regions. WTP for a healthy meal kit service among participants with low income residing in urban communities will be assessed in the coming months.

      Funding

      Walmart Foundation

      SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

      Supplementary data related to this article can be found at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2022.04.186.

      Appendix. SUPPLEMENTARY DATA