Assessing the Impact of Post-Purchase Barriers on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: A Secondary Analysis of a Survey of SNAP Recipients at Seattle Farmers Markets
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Objectives: This secondary analysis identifies and describes the impact of self-reported barriers between purchasing produce at farmers markets and consuming that produce at home. This analysis also compares demographic characteristics between participants who did report barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption and those who did not. Finally, we examine differences in self-reported fruit and vegetable shopping behaviors and consumption between participants who did or did not report barriers, and compare these to the USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Study design: This is a secondary analysis of data collected during an evaluation of the 2013 Fresh Bucks Program, a fruit and vegetable incentive program available at Seattle farmers markets. The original evaluation collected data from a convenience sample of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants who chose to participate in the Fresh Bucks Program. The Fresh Bucks evaluation surveyed participants at three time points: 1) before they shopped, 2) after they shopped on the same day, and 3) one-to-two months later by phone. Our analysis used data collected from all three of the surveys. Methods: These three surveys asked questions related to the purchase, preparation, and consumption of fruits and vegetables. For this analysis, we divided participants into those who reported barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption and those who did not. Differences between the two groups were assessed with student-t and Fisher's exact tests. Barriers and solutions reported by participants were categorized and reported by themes. Results: Of 70 participants, 35 did not report barriers and 35 did report at least one barrier. The most common barriers to full consumption of all produce were purchasing too much produce at once and that the produce spoiled before it could be eaten. Sixty-nine respondents indicated that they consumed more than half or all of their produce, and there was no statistically significant difference in full consumption of all produce those who reported some barriers and those who did not report barriers. The group that did not report barriers reported a significantly greater number of children per household (p=0.02), and were more likely to report that they knew how to prepare all items they purchased (p<0.01). Both groups were comprised predominately of white, non-Hispanic, English-speaking females from households of an average of 3 persons. The majority of both groups appear to meet the USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans for daily vegetable consumption, though less so for fruit. Conclusions: The majority of participants were able to consume most of the produce purchased, and met national guidelines for vegetable consumption. The population represented in this analysis is much different from typical SNAP shoppers in demographic and other characteristics. Future incentive programs should target locations where SNAP participants who do not consume enough fruits and vegetables typically shop. Future research should further understanding of the magnitude of the major barriers reported in our analysis: purchasing more produce than can be eaten before it spoils, and the rapid spoilage of produce.
- Nutritional sciences