Explaining variation in fruit & vegetable intake with a consumer marketing tool
Della, Lindsay J.
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This study sought to determine whether a consumer-based audience segmentation tool, VALS, could be used to help reinvent the 5-A-Day fruit and vegetables social marketing campaign. The study used the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to explain fruit and vegetable consumption behavior in a cross-sectional sample of N=1,587 U.S. adults. A one-time telephone survey was administered to obtain fruit and vegetable consumption information, TPB subscale responses, and VALS™ audience classifications. In a multi-group structural equation model, the VALS audience grouping variable was found to moderate latent TPB construct relationships. Attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control (PBC) were found to significantly predict intentions to eat 5 servings for fruit and vegetables per day. Together, all three predicators explained 57% to 70% of the variation in intentions across five different VALS groups. Perceived behavioral control and behavioral intentions also predicted self-reported consumption behavior (R= 20% to 71% across VALS groups). In simple group-by-group contrasts, significant differences were found between the attitude-intention, subjective norm-intention, PBC-intention, intention-behavior, and PBC-behavior relationships in several different 2-group comparisons. Overall, this study confirms the efficacy of using the theory of planned behavior to explain variation in fruit and vegetable consumption. Furthermore, it highlights the tentative validity of using VALS™ to segment communication audiences for fruit and vegetable consumption messaging. Conclusions from this study suggest that prudent social marketers might pursue the idea of developing a standardized psychographic audience segmentation tool for lifestyle-based health behavior.