|Reviewers Comments: ||This kit can be helpful to educators who are interested in providing supermarket tours as a part of their nutrition education activities. The tour gives educators the opportunity to teach about food shopping and cooking for positive nutrition and promote behavior change. The educator leading the tour will need a strong background in nutrition, to answer participant questions and expand upon the basic nutrition information offered.
The background information can assist the educator prepare for the tour and understand what is involved, including marketing the tour, financial planning for the tour, and contacting the supermarket. The kit encourages establishing a relationship with the supermarket chain and cooperating with the store, including meeting with the store manager at least once and contacting the corporate office. Recommended outlets for marketing the tour include newspapers and magazines, food editors, radio and television. Sample lists, letters, forms, such as sample tour reservations forms and an expense list are provided as well as a few exercises to assist in the planning process. The cost of conducting a tour may vary in different parts of the country. SNAP-Ed providers may not need to use some of the information in this section.
The bulk of the kit deals with the mechanics and flow of the supermarket tour. Aisle by aisle teaching modules, which include three objectives each, corresponding learning activities, and tip sheets for eight sections of the supermarket are included in the kit to help the educator organize and plan the tour. These can be useful in outlining and planning a supermarket tour. Sampling products is encouraged, and health benefits of various foods and food groups are listed. Brand name products are mentioned in the kit as suggested examples. Label reading using the Nutrition Facts Panel is explained and promoted. Shopping tips including using coupons, and understanding unit pricing and sell-by dates is contained in the handouts, but not the lecture information. Questions to anticipate from participants (along with the answers) are incorporated in each teaching module.
Although the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid are encouraged in the kit, they not thoroughly explained. The kit was recently updated, however The Food Guide Pyramid (a previous version of MyPyramid), as well as the previous recommendations for serving size, are referenced in some parts of the teaching modules (the handout “Meal Solutions from the Deli” uses a MyPyramid graphic but calls it the Food Guide Pyramid and the handout “Cheese” recommends servings and mentions the Food Guide Pyramid). In the Milk & Yogurt section, the kit encourages consumption of 1 cup of milk or yogurt at least twice a day, while MyPyramid recommends 3 cups of food from the milk group be consumed every day for all Americans 9 years or older. The section on produce touts the “9-A-Day” campaign, which has been replaced by the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters™ campaign. The kit does support eating a variety of raw, as well as dried fruits and vegetables.
Attendee and supermarket evaluations are available to help determine the effectiveness of the tour. The purchaser of the kit is given permission to reproduce these as well as all other handouts provided only for the purpose of conducting a supermarket tour. Reproducing material from the kit for other purposes (such as classroom lessons, health fairs, and in newsletters) is prohibited. Additional information about marketing nutrition in the supermarket beyond the supermarket tour is also provided and can be helpful for educators looking to expand their nutrition education efforts even more.