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Table 1 Completed formative research with wholesalers, storeowners, and consumers

From: B’More healthy: retail rewards - design of a multi-level communications and pricing intervention to improve the food environment in Baltimore City

Date Level Activity Objectives
Jan – Mar 2012 Wholesaler Direct Observation (n = 12) To examine retailers’ purchasing patterns and food selections and to understand marketing factors influencing their choices at wholesale stores.
Feb – Mar 2012 Store owner Direct Observation (n = 17) To create store maps, highlighting how items are stocked and displayed. To observe any existing in-store promotions, including pricing or communications marketing strategies. To observe customers’ shopping patterns and purchases.
Mar 2012 Store owner Participant Observation (n = 1) To shadow specific retailers that also completed an interview as they shopped at the wholesaler, to examine shopping patterns and to further understand retailers’ perceptions of food choices and availability.
Mar – Apr 2012 Store owner In-depth Interview(n = 17) To understand stocking decisions, barriers and facilitators to stocking healthier food products, relationships with customers and suppliers (e.g., wholesalers, vendors), pricing determinants, promotional strategies, and business infrastructure (e.g., Korean American business owner networks).
Mar – Apr 2012 Consumer In-depth Interview (n = 9) To explore healthy food preferences and perceptions, food sources, purchasing decisions at corner stores, and motivators/facilitators to increase healthy food purchasing in corner stores.
Mar 2012, Oct 2012 Consumer Focus Groups (n = 2, 11 and 12 consumers, respectively) To discuss potential promoted foods, healthy food perceptions, healthy food availability, corner store shopping experiences, relevant words or phrases denoting ‘healthy’ that may appeal to the consumer, strategies to increase healthy food purchasing, and feedback on study logo design. The second focus group served to refine acceptable promoted food items (via taste testing and discussion), key messages/communications formats, and acceptable price ranges to increase healthy food purchasing in corner stores.
May 2012 Consumer Pile sorting and ranking (n = 33) To identify and refine foods and beverages for promotion. Staff collected proximity and ranking data on 24 potential promoted foods/beverages. Individual items were first free-sorted into groups by each consumer. Consumers were then asked to sort foods/beverages into 3 groups: very interested to eat, somewhat interested to eat, not going to eat.
Jan 2012 - Feb 2013 Wholesaler executives Intervention planning meetings (n = 10) To implement stocking of new promoted foods, to refine acceptable promoted food items, to develop sustainable pricing strategies based on price sensitivity to increase healthy food sales, and to develop a protocol for applying healthy food discounts to the pricing intervention groups.