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Food Hero Research Summary

A 2009 initial social marketing campaign development needs assessment consisted of two sets of focus groups (6 groups, n=36) and a pre-post phone survey (n=2046).  After campaign development process evaluation, combined with continued formative evaluation was conducted with target moms via English language focus groups (2011-2015, 9 groups, n=49), paper and online surveys in over 50 Oregon elementary schools (2013-2014, n=797), and Spanish language focus groups (2011 and 2013, 3 groups, n=18).  Additionally formative focus groups with African American (3 groups, n=13) and older adult audiences (2 groups, n=14) in 2015 and 2016 gained important information on Food Hero among other themes.  In 2016 and 2017 two more phone surveys were conducted (n=600).

Research results (phase I) led to a redesign of the Food Hero website, launched in 2011. currently (March, 2016) has over 125,000 unique users visit each month, with over 2.2 million page views in the past year.  Over a four-year period (2012-15), recipe pageviews on the website, averaging >290,735/month in 2015, increased 1,728%.

Food Hero is included as an intervention in the USDA publication SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions: An Obesity Prevention Toolkit for States.

Ongoing research and evaluation tools:

  • The Parent Recipe survey is still in use and continues to show behavior change related to Food Hero.  Results can be found in our annual impact reports.  
  • For almost a year we have been conducting a kids tasting survey (n>10,000) to taste test our recipe with kids and then mark some recipes as “kid approved”.  We are using the results to share with target moms, and foodservice sites to promote Food Hero recipes. 
  • We are about to launch an adult intercept survey which we have been developing for a couple of years – using the results of the process evaluation surveys (n=13), educator feedback, and cognative interviews with the target audience.  
  • We have begun developing/validating a cooking tool survey based on research previously conducted in Oklahoma (

We are working on writing up our research and have a website link where we post our published research and share many useful development tools from the campaign for others to use (Food Hero Community Kit)  Our published research includes a paper about our social media platform, which has been one of the most downloaded articles for the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior for over a year.

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