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About the Food and Nutrition Information Center

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Title:Smart Choices in the Grocery Store Pilot Project
Pub. date: July 2007
Edition: 1st
Includes: Grocery store events
Audience: Parents, Children, Elderly, Shoppers
Language: English, will be translated to Spanish at a later date
Description:This pilot project was created to help shoppers make healthier food choices. There are six planned grocery store events, each on a different nutrition topic. The events feature a bite sized portion of a new recipe or food, store intercom announcements, handouts for adults and children, table top displays, and small posters. Logs are used to record client's responses and predetermined questions measure event impact. The events are advertised using PSAs and recipe items are featured on store coupons and flyers.
Funding Source: Food Stamp Program, USDA
Developer: Mary Ann McFarland, MS, RD
Organization: Virginia Tech: Virginia Cooperative Extension Smart Choices Nutrition Education Program (SCNEP)
Length: 4 hours each event
Pilot Testing: This project was developed after a review of published grocery store campaigns found few provided comprehensive nutrition education needed by FSNE eligibles.

To measure the impact of the program, predetermined questions were asked of event participants and a log was used to record their responses. Questions were designed to measure an increase in nutrition skills and determine intent to change food selection behaviors

Assessment instrument Used? Not at the present time, but working on it. Intent to change and knowledge questions asked.
Use Restrictions: may copy
Reviewers Comments: There are six planned grocery store events:
  • Focus on Fruit
  • Think Your Dink
  • Vary Your Veggies
  • Increasing Whole Grains
  • Reducing Sodium
  • Getting Calcium for a Lifetime

They are held at local grocery stores with high volume FSP (food stamp participation) authorized retailers. (Outlined in "High Volume FSP (Food Stamp Participation) Authorized Retailers as Venues for FSNE"). In the pilot, prospective grocery stores recieved a letter of intent explaining the program, and how it would involve the grocery store (sample letter available). Also, the Food Stamp Program Outreach Tool Kit for Retail Stores was reviewed before starting the program and incorporated into program planning and activities. The Iowa Nutrition Network's Pick a Better Snack program was also reviewed and used as a reference for Smart Choices in the Grocery Store (refer to SNAP-Ed Connection review ).

FSNE providers visited interested grocery stores and arranged the event location and time. Events were centered around one of the six central themes, and included a prepared recipe, handouts for adults and children, educational displays, and store intercom announcements reinforcing the topic. During all events, staff also promoted enrollment into other FSNE opportunities such as face-to-face lessons or newsletter enrollment. Stores were encouraged to give coupons and discounts to foods that were featured.

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