N° 79 | July 2013

The Influence of State Agricultural Branding Programs on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

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A diet high in fruits and vegetables (F&V) is clearly associated with a lower risk of several different chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Given these benefits, a critical question for health policy concerns whether or not state-sponsored programs promoting the consumption of F&V grown in-state has a favorable impact on consumers’ dietary consumption. Examples of such programs include Something Special from Wisconsin, Buy Missouri, and Pride of Dakota. Funding for these state branding programs has been provided primarily by state legislature initiatives, but from an outcome perspective, information regarding the effectiveness of such programs has been limited and inconclusive.

Impact of F&V consumption in states with and without marketing programs

The purpose of our research was to examine how F&V consumption in states with state-sponsored branding programs compares to consumption in states without such initiatives. Our research used a quasi-experimental methodology to specifically examine the effectiveness of marketing-oriented, promotional campaigns that encourage the consumption of local F&V. Although the financial costs associated with statesponsored branding programs may not be offset by increases in revenue, they may potentially have some positive effect on overall F&V consumption.

This research used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a continuous ongoing, statebased survey of the United States Population aged 18 and older. The data included 80,192 adults aged 18 and older from the 2000 survey and 157,128 adults from the 2005 survey with complete consumption and demographic data. Data from the 2000 and 2005 surveys were selected because it allows us to compare consumption before and after the initiation of marketing programs in states with and without these programs. In 2000, there were 26 states without programs. Between 2001 and 2004, 17 states initiated marketing programs to specifically promote the consumption of in-state F&V. Nine states remained without programs in 2005. Analyses were performed for these 26 states.

A better F&V consumption in states with marketing programs, and particularly women

Results of the analyses indicate that across states, weekly consumption was greater in states with marketing programs than in states without marketing programs (p<.0001). Consumption decreased between 2000 and 2005 (p<.0001), and women consumed more F&V than men (p <.0001). More importantly, and consistent with our primary research question, the joint effect of the marketing campaign and time (the interaction) was significant (p<.0001). F&V consumption in 2000 (i.e., prior to the marketing campaigns) was similar across states. However, in the absence of a marketing campaign, there was a significant decrease in the number of F&V servings consumed per week between 2000 and 2005 (p <.05). In states initiating campaigns, consumption remained unchanged (p >.10).

While men in states with marketing campaigns consumed somewhat more F&V than men in states without these programs (p <.05), the difference was more striking for women. Consumption among women was higher in states with marketing programs than in states without campaigns. In sum, in contrast to the significant drop in consumption in states without state-sponsored branding, the weekly number of servings of F&V in states with marketing campaigns remained relatively stable over time.

Positive influence of statesponsored agricultural marketing programs on adult consumers' F&V consumption

The results of this research provide evidence that these programs can increase overall consumption. The national decline in F&V consumption was stemmed in states with marketing campaigns. In contrast, in states without campaigns, consumers ate 1.7 fewer servings of F&V. In addition, females seem to benefit somewhat more from the campaigns than males. While F&V consumption by both males and females increased in states with campaigns, the increase was greater for women. Females have been shown to be more nutrition conscious than males, which supports the conclusion that they responded more favorably to the promotional campaign. This suggests that marketing campaigns may be somewhat widening the F&V consumption.

Howlett A, Burton S, Newman C, Faupel A. The positive influence of state agricultural marketing programs on adults’ fruit and vegetable consumption.
September/October 2012, Am J of Health Promot, 2012; Vol. 27: 17-20.

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