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Refining and implementing the Food Assortment Scoring Tool (FAST) in food pantries

  • Caitlin E Caspi (a1), Katherine Y Grannon (a1), Qi Wang (a2), Marilyn S Nanney (a1) and Robert P King (a3)...

Abstract

Objective

Hunger relief agencies have a limited capacity to monitor the nutritional quality of their food. Validated measures of food environments, such as the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010), are challenging to use due to their time intensity and requirement for precise nutrient information. A previous study used out-of-sample predictions to demonstrate that an alternative measure correlated well with the HEI-2010. The present study revised the Food Assortment Scoring Tool (FAST) to facilitate implementation and tested the tool’s performance in a real-world food pantry setting.

Design

We developed a FAST measure with thirteen scored categories and thirty-one sub-categories. FAST scores were generated by sorting and weighing foods in categories, multiplying each category’s weight share by a healthfulness parameter and summing the categories (range 0–100). FAST was implemented by recording all food products moved over five days. Researchers collected FAST and HEI-2010 scores for food availability and foods selected by clients, to calculate correlations.

Setting

Five food pantries in greater Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.

Subjects

Food carts of sixty food pantry clients.

Results

The thirteen-category FAST correlated well with the HEI-2010 in prediction models (r = 0·68). FAST scores averaged 61·5 for food products moved, 63·8 for availability and 62·5 for client carts. As implemented in the real world, FAST demonstrated good correlation with the HEI-2010 (r = 0·66).

Conclusions

The FAST is a flexible, valid tool to monitor the nutritional quality of food in pantries. Future studies are needed to test its use in monitoring improvements in food pantry nutritional quality over time.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email cecaspi@umn.edu

References

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Refining and implementing the Food Assortment Scoring Tool (FAST) in food pantries

  • Caitlin E Caspi (a1), Katherine Y Grannon (a1), Qi Wang (a2), Marilyn S Nanney (a1) and Robert P King (a3)...

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