“Grupo Focal” not “Grupo de Enfoque”

Querido readers,

It has been a productive and incredible two weeks so far.

Last week, we begun our brainstorming sessions and facilitation guide preparation for our focus groups. We have finalized the design of our labels and appended them on the food packages.

There are four variables that we are interested in: the message, position, font, and color. “Alto en ‘x’ ” (“High in ‘x'” is the message that consumers can connect with “Bajo en x” (Low in ‘x’) which is already marketed by most food companies. In this case, we are using Maggi’s soup powder product because of it’s high sodium content. Maggi, a popular condiment used in soups and stews, contains 860mg of sodium, that’s 36% of its ingredient mixed in the package. Thus, we will be testing the messages “Alto en sodio” and “Alto en sal”. Additionally, a behavior (i.e limit your intake) and health risk component (i.e may cause health problems) will be discussed.

Upon designing the warning labels, we met with Professor Sonia Olivares, who gave us great advice on how to effectively communicate our messages. She emailed us some useful publications that was done by the Chilean Ministry of Health. One study investigated the use of color in campaign advertisements and shown that a black background with white text was compelling compared to other colors. I personally thought this was fascinating as it relates to my study of health communications. It will be interesting to see if the results from our focus groups are similar.

The day had finally come to meet with our first group of mothers. We had everything ready as the mothers slowly began to arrive. There was a total of 9 participants yesterday, and we hope to have a total of 40 by the end of this week. Perlita facilitated the discussion in Spanish, and a translator helped with words that may have seemed unusual to us but common for our participants to use in every day language. The discussion lasted an hour in a half, and the women were given their compensation.

Through trial and error with our first focus group, there were only a few changes that was made to our facilitation procedures, but overall, we thought that the focus group discussion went really well. As relieved as we were that everything went smoothly, Dr. Corvalan was also impressed and very happy when we debrief about our positive experience.

I hope to share a little of what we learn as we come closer to finishing our last focus group sessions. Pictures will be posted soon!

Until next time. Ciao!

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