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The Usefulness of Targeted Messaging Techniques to Promote Healthy Food Choice in the Food Retail Environment

Liguori, Carli (2023) The Usefulness of Targeted Messaging Techniques to Promote Healthy Food Choice in the Food Retail Environment. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The present study aimed to assess the effectiveness of various messaging techniques to influence adults’ intention to purchase healthy foods. The specific aims were: 1) assess the acceptability and validity of a vignette survey to assess participants’ intention to purchase healthy foods; 2) compare the relative influence of food product messaging on intention; 3) examine whether messaging impacts intention differently by sociodemographic group (i.e., age, race/ethnicity, and SNAP eligibility).
In the food label vignette survey, participants were randomly shown three food labels and asked how likely they were to purchase the product. The labels varied by: 1) food type (yogurt, cereal, or black beans); 2) cost (25% off coupon vs. no coupon); 3) FDA “Healthy” logo (logo vs. no logo); 4) shopper rating (3-star rating vs. 5-star rating). Phase 1 participants (n=20) completed the survey and participated in cognitive interviews to determine survey acceptability and validity. The survey was modified and administered to Phase 2 participants (n=4941). Data were analyzed using multiple regression. Interaction effects were examined to assess differences in mean scores between demographics.
Phase 1 participants were predominately male (65.0%), white (65.0%), and had a mean age of 42.85 ± 22.91 years. Interviews revealed that “healthy” was largely defined by the nutrient content of the food and food preference emerged as a primary influence on food choice. Phase 2 participants were predominately female (62.1%), white (67.8%), and had a mean age of 32.19 ± 8.58 years. The influence of the vignette attributes on intention to purchase differed by food type. A 5-star shopper rating had the largest positive effect on purchasing intention (yogurt: β=6.969, p<0.001; cereal: β=6.825, p<0.001; beans: β=7.575, p<0.001). There were few significant interaction effects observed, largely confirming the hypothesis that the relative importance of the vignette attributes would not differ by participant demographics.
These findings can inform future health promotion campaigns and the application of tailored messaging techniques to increase intention to purchase health foods. Future research should aim to examine additional motivations for food choice and their relative importance on food purchasing decisions in real-world settings.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Liguori, Carlical198@pitt.educal1980000-0001-9909-8391
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTaverno Ross, Sharon E.seross@pitt.eduseross0000-0002-3556-598X
Committee MemberCherok, Lorilcherok@pitt.edulcherok
Committee MemberDavis, Kelliann K.kelli.davis@pitt.edukkd2
Committee MemberEllison, Brennabdelliso@purdue.edu0000-0002-4042-0056
Committee MemberKline, Christopher E.chriskline@pitt.educek510000-0003-1025-9430
Date: 21 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 6 July 2023
Approval Date: 21 September 2023
Submission Date: 2 August 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 117
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health and Physical Activity
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nutrition, Food retail, Healthy definition, Behavioral economics, Food choice
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2023 20:47
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2023 20:47


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