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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Small Grain and Food Crops Quality Research » Research » Research Project #442819

Research Project: PCHI - Targeted Messaging Highlighting Human Health and Sustainability Benefits to Promote Pulse Consumption

Location: Small Grain and Food Crops Quality Research

Project Number: 3060-21650-002-038-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Dec 31, 2024

(1) Test human health, sustainability, and combined human health and sustainability messaging (versus a no-message control condition) on consumer preference for food choices in a choice environment that captures important choice process data; (2) Test the impact of targeted messaging to consumers based on self-identified priorities (e.g., health, sustainability) vs. exogenous exposure to messages on attitudes towards and intent to purchase pulse-based foods; and (3) Examine the impact of targeted messaging that promotes the benefits of pulses on purchases and consumption.

In objective 1, we will test the impact of pulse messages on food choice in: 1) control, 2) health, 3) sustainability, and 4) health and sustainability conditions. After reading prompt messages (conditions 2-4), participants will make food choices from product categories that include pulses and non-pulse alternatives. After choosing, respondents will complete a survey collecting data on demographic variables, pulse knowledge, frequency of pulse consumption, perceived facilitators of/barriers to pulse consumption, and personal health and sustainability priorities. We will analyze the impact of prompt condition on the choice of pulses and other variables. In objective 2, we will test targeting messages based on consumers’ self-identified priorities to maximize the impact of messaging on consumers’ attitudes and choices of pulses. Participants will answer questions about priorities related to pulse benefits - e.g., health, sustainability, and food price concerns. Participants will be randomized to targeted vs. non-targeted messaging conditions. In the targeted condition, participants will receive messages based on their priorities, while in the non-targeted condition, they will receive a random message. After reading the message, they will respond to a set of questions about perceptions of the value and importance of pulses in human health and sustainable food production, as well as intent to purchase (ITP) pulse-based foods. In Objective 3, we will recruit a sample of primary household food shoppers to participate in a four-month study on pulse purchasing and consumption. Panel participants will complete an initial survey with information about their food priorities, demographic information, purchasing habits, knowledge of pulses, and other related questions. During the four-month study, participants will receive short, weekly surveys that record information about purchases and consumption of pulses. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of four groups that will receive 1) generic health messages (3 times), 2) pulse messages (3 times), 3) pulse messages (5 times), and 4) pulse messages (9 times).