Caspi, C.; Gordon, N.; Bliss Barsness, C.; Bohen, L.; Canterbury, M.; Peterson, H.; Wolfson, J.; Pratt, R.
The charitable food system is rapidly evolving. Interventions that target the food pantry environment and use behavioral economics are in high demand, but can be difficult to implement in a low-resource setting. This is an analysis of secondary, environment-level outcomes in a food pantry intervention (SuperShelf); the study evaluates whether the intervention resulted in measurable changes to the food pantry environment and improved diet quality of the food available to clients, compared with a control group of food pantries. Eleven food pantries were randomized to an intervention (n = 5) or control (n = 6) condition and completed baseline and one-year follow-up measures between 2018 and 2020. The intervention addressed healthy food supply and the appeal of healthy foods using behavioral economics. Assessments included manager surveys, intervention fidelity, food inventory, and food supply tracked over 5 days. Measures included change in intervention fidelity (range 0-100) with four subcomponents; Healthy Eating Index scores (HEI-2015, range 0-100) with 13 subcomponents; and Food Assortment Scoring Tool scores (FAST, range 0-100). Descriptive analyses and t-Tests examined pre-post changes within and between intervention arms. Average fidelity scores increased from baseline to follow-up in the intervention group compared with the control group (p <. 001), as did FAST scores (p =. 02). Average HEI-2015 Total scores increased in the intervention group by 6.3 points and by 1.6 points in the control group, but the difference in change between groups was not statistically significant (p =. 56). The intervention was implemented with high fidelity at five sites, with some evidence of change in the nutritional quality of the food available on the shelf to clients. © 2022 Society of Behavioral Medicine. All rights reserved.