Date of Graduation

12-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural & Extension Education (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology

Advisor

Jefferson D. Miller

Committee Member

Donna Graham

Second Committee Member

Cindy Moore

Third Committee Member

Craig Bacon

Keywords

Communication and the arts; Health and environmental sciences; Communication; Education; Nutrition

Abstract

This qualitative study assessed consumers’ current methods of determining portion sizing of chicken products and examined their perceptions of how effectively three package designs communicate portion size. Everett M. Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations (DI) Theory analyzes the characteristics of the consumer of the innovation (adopter) and the impact these characteristics have on adopting new innovations. The innovation in this study will be the prototype packaging. Focusing on Rogers’ adopter characteristics and defined proprietary consumer segmentation characteristics, this study will be pivotal for future package design projects targeting nutrition education.

Focus group questions were scrutinized through a pilot study and revised where appropriate. Two semi-structured focus group discussions were conducted with 30 participants in total. Each focus group was audio and visually recorded, then transcribed verbatim. Data were coded and analyzed using constant comparison analysis technique. Results showed that many participants thought that measuring portion size is somewhat important, but sometimes difficult. In general, all three package designs were acknowledged as being helpful in consumers’ nutritional literacy and portion control. Two of the package designs were viewed positively in understanding appropriate portion size, but the nutrition information in the form of call-outs/benefits on the front of the packages may have been seen as more helpful that the single serve package design. Some participants felt that there were cost implications due to the structure of one of the packages. The study concludes further package designs could educate consumers about proper portion size consumption and would be instrumental in promoting healthy dietary habits and addressing the obesity issues that are prevalent.

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