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Many barriers to healthy eating have been reported including having to give up favorite food dishes, consuming lesser desired food items, and perceiving that fresh, unprocessed food is too expensive. For a week, customers were able to view a display of two grocery carts: one filled with healthy foods and the other filled with unhealthy foods. Each cart had the cost and nutritive values of the contents posted. For 6 hours on 3 different days, the researcher interviewed interested shoppers (n=33). While the majority of the shoppers indicated they were very concerned about their families eating healthy (mean score 4.2/5), the belief that they could purchase a week's worth of healthy meals at the SNAP level was uncertain (mean score 3.5/5). Additionally, participants were uncertain (mean score of 3.2/5) about their ability to eat healthy on a budget. While the grocery cart display caused participants to pause and think for a moment, 82% stated that seeing the display did not change their opinion about eating healthy on a budget. While this awareness activity did not seem to promote behavior change or a change in self-efficacy, it did lead customers to reflect on his/her eating patterns. A noted limitation of the study was that the display was after groceries were purchased. Placement of the carts, provision of healthy eating handout, and the interview time with the researcher might have been better received before shopping. Future research endeavors could include supermarket tours or in-store food testings.
Wilcoxon, Kara R., "Eating Healthy on a Budget: A Grocery Cart Display" (2014). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 81.