Acceptability of School Nutrition Marketing Materials with Adolescents Grades 6-12

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Description

Objective: It’s not well understood how youth perceive existing fruit and vegetable (FV) marketing materials available in schools. This ancillary study sought to assess the acceptability of FV marketing materials

Objective: It’s not well understood how youth perceive existing fruit and vegetable (FV) marketing materials available in schools. This ancillary study sought to assess the acceptability of FV marketing materials freely available to schools among adolescents in grades 6-12.

Methods: Middle and high school adolescents (n=40; 50% female; 52.5% Hispanic) in the Phoenix, AZ area were asked to rank marketing materials (n=35) from favorite to least favorite in four categories: table tents, medium posters, large posters and announcements. Favorites were determined by showing participants two items at a time and having them choose which they preferred; items were displayed to each adolescent in a random order. Adolescents participated in a 20-30 minute interview on their favorite items in each category based on acceptance/attractiveness, comprehension, relevance, motivation and uniqueness of the materials. A content analysis was performed on top rated marketing materials. Top rated marketing materials were determined by the number of times the advertisement was ranked first in its category.

Results: An analysis of the design features of the items indicated that most participants (84%) preferred marketing materials with more than 4 color groups. Participant preference of advertisement length and word count was varied. A total of 5 themes and 20 subthemes emerged when participants discussed their favorite FV advertisements. Themes included: likes (e.g., colors, length, FV shown), dislikes (e.g., length, FV shown), health information (e.g., vitamin shown), comprehension (e.g., doesn’t recognize FV), and social aspects (e.g., peer opinion). Peer opinion often influenced participant opinion on marketing materials. Participants often said peers wouldn’t like the advertisements shown: “…kids my age think that vegetables are not good, and they like food more than vegetables.” Fruits and vegetable pictured as well as the information in the marketing materials also influenced adolescent preference.

Conclusion: Students preferred advertisements with more color and strong visual aspects. Word count had minimal influence on their opinions of the marketing materials, while information mentioned and peer opinion did have a positive effect. Further research needs to be done to determine if there is a link between adolescent preferences on FV marketing materials and FV consumption habits.