Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Marketing Fruit and Vegetables to Middle School Students: Formative Assessment Results

Authors
item Cullen, Karen
item Thompson, Victoria - N/A
item Watson, Kathleen
item Nicklas, Theresa

Submitted to: Journal of Child Nutrition and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2005
Publication Date: December 1, 2005
Citation: Cullen, K.W., Thompson, V.J., Watson, K., Nicklas, T. 2005. Marketing fruit and vegetables to middle school students: formative assessment results. Journal of Child Nutrition and Management. 29(2):1-10.

Interpretive Summary: Middle school students eat less fruit and vegetables than elementary school students. Formative assessment was conducted to help plan a social marketing campaign to encourage fruit and vegetable purchase and consumption by students in middle school snack bars. Individual interviews were completed with 103 middle school students, and a survey based on interview results was completed by 2,472 students. A variety of fruit and juices were popular choices for the snack bar, but the only vegetable items preferred by portions were baby carrots and salad in large cup-like containers. Promotional methods suggested were increasing variety, providing attractive displays, offering free samples, and advertising with posters, table tents, and small contests. Funny/off-the-wall messages and images promoting consumption were favored. Strategies to improve fruit and vegetable consumption in middle school cafeterias are identified. These can easily be adapted for use by school food service departments.

Technical Abstract: Middle school student consumption of fruit and vegetables is lower than that of elementary school students. A formative assessment was conducted to help plan a social marketing campaign to encourage fruit and vegetable purchase and consumption in middle school snack bars. Individual interviews were completed with 103 middle school students in Houston, TX, and a survey, based on interview results, was completed by 2,472 students. A variety of fruit and juices were popular choices for the snack bar, but the only vegetable items preferred by participating students were baby carrots and salad in large, cup-like containers. The promotional methods favored by students included increasing the variety of items; providing attractive displays; offering free samples; and advertising with posters, table tents, and small contests. Funny or off-the-wall messages and images promoting fruit and vegetable consumption also were preferred. This research identifies strategies to improve fruit and vegetable consumption in middle school cafeterias, and these easily can be adapted for use by school food service departments.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014