Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

First Advisor

Jennifer Barnes


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of highlighting healthy food options on consumer food choices in a food bank setting.

Methods: Two community food banks participated in this study. One food bank served as the control, while a second food bank was rearranged so that fresh produce and other healthy products were the first options that shoppers encountered upon entering. After shopping, carts were inventoried for healthy vs non-healthy products. Composition of the carts from the control food bank were then compared to the contents of the carts from the intervention food bank.

Results: A total of 72 food bank users consented to participate in this study. Of the 72 participants, 38 were sampled at the control food bank and 34 were from the intervention food bank. Independent t-tests were used to evaluate the differences between the numbers of healthy food products taken from each category in the control food bank compared to the intervention food bank. Participants from the intervention food bank chose significantly more fresh fruits (p<0.001), fresh vegetables (p<0.001), canned vegetables (<0.001), frozen vegetables (p=0.004), nuts (p=<0.001), dairy products (p=0.015), and margarine (p=0.032).

Conclusion: This study provided evidence that highlighting healthy foods increases the number of fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy products, and margarine chosen by food bank users. These are significant data that can aid food banks and other similar settings in encouraging participants to choose nutritious food options, potentially leading to a healthier population of those that would be food insecure without food banks.


Imported from ProQuest Grabow_ilstu_0092N_11407.pdf


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