Food Hero

Oregon State University Extension

Overview

Food Hero is a multi-channel social marketing campaign designed to change family and community behaviors.  Food Hero includes an extensive evaluation process. The program is designed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income Oregonians, and components of the campaign have been used widely in other states and countries.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change, Social Marketing

Intervention Reach and Adoption

Food Hero targets mothers with children living in the home, comprehensively within their local community, aiming to reach mothers directly but also to reach sites within their community where they frequent (e.g. grocery stores, schools, churches, pantries, farmers markets, WIC).

Setting: Community, Faith-based community, Health care, Retail, School, Worksite

Target Audience: Preschool (<5 years old), Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Pregnant/Breastfeeding Mothers, Parents/Mothers/Fathers, Adults, Older Adults, Homeless/Food Pantry Clients, Community partners

Race/Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

Food Hero includes direct education components plus and PSE tools. Food Hero has a website where most of the tools are housed (content for campaign participants plus educators/partners in the community kit) and a social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram) that participants and partners can access. Within Food Hero lives healthy and tasty recipes, meal ideas, budgeting, shopping, and many more cooking tips and tools to attract families to Food Hero as their ‘go to’ website for everything food.  Congruent tools exist to work on PSE change.

Intervention Materials

Food Hero offers a variety of intervention tools, such as:

  • Tested recipes which follow the Food Hero multi-category recipe criteria, and a number of which have been rated “kid approved”
  • Food Hero Monthly Magazine
  • Quantity Recipes which have been analyzed to meet meal pattern requirements for schools and child centers
  • Media creative materials such as web banners and grocery shelf talkers.
  • Harvest of the month posters, passport, coloring sheets and hand stamps.
  • Bulletin Board Toolkit
  • Healthy School Celebrations Toolkit
  • Champion Award

Materials can be found on the Food Hero website: https://foodhero.org/

Evidence Summary

An evaluation of the Food Hero social marketing campaign found that:

  • More participants in intervention counties recalled the Food Hero name than participants in the control county (12% vs 3%)
  • More participants in the intervention counties correctly interpreted the intended meaning of Food Hero compared to participants in the control county (60% vs 23%)
  • 68% of participants in intervention counties recalled hearing or seeing at least one of the campaign messages
  • Compared with control counties, participants in intervention counties had significantly higher confidence in serving balanced meals for their family (p=.03) and were more likely to report that canned fruit was just as healthy as fresh fruit (p=.01)

Open Access Publication in Nutrients: http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/9/562/htm

Annual reports can be found here: https://foodhero.org/annual-updates

Classification: Emerging

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual ST1, ST2 MT1, MT2 LT1, LT2
Environmental Settings ST6 MT5
Sectors of Influence MT12

Evaluation Materials

A variety of evaluation tools, including a family dinner survey, tasting surveys, and parent recipe survey, are available as part of the Community Toolkit: https://foodhero.org/community-toolkit

 

Additional Information

Website: The Food Hero website (http://www.foodhero.org/) includes recipes, tips and tools, media materials, and a community toolkit. All campaign components are in English and Spanish.  Translated materials go through an extensive, multi-person/committee, process.

Contact Person(s):
Lauren Tobey, MS, RD
Family & Community Health
Oregon State University
106 Ballard Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331
Phone: (541) 737-1014
Email: Food.Hero@oregonstate.edu
or Lauren.Tobey@oregonstate.edu