DOES BRIGHTER BITES WORK?

While food co-ops are becoming popular, there is little published literature to show their benefit and impact.
This is where Brighter Bites takes the fruitcake.

Researchers at the UTHealth School of Public Health conducted a two-year study evaluating the impact of Brighter Bites on 760 students and their families at nine schools in Houston during the 2013-15 school years. Results from this study have been published in a scientific peer-reviewed journal called Preventive Medicine.

Suffice it to say, science finally proves what we’ve suspected all along:

Brighter Bites works—and works well.


Study results show that, as compared to participants in the control group (not receiving Brighter Bites), children and parents who did receive Brighter Bites demonstrated:

HEALTHIER HABITS

Significant increase in amount of fruits and vegetables consumed.

LESS ADDED SUGAR

Significant decrease in amount of added sugars consumed among children.

MORE HOME COOKING

Twofold increase in cooking meals from scratch

HEALTHIER SNACKING

Significant increase in serving more fruits and vegetables as snacks.

MORE FAMILY MEALS

Significant increase in eating produce-heavy meals together at home

SMARTER DECISIONS

Twofold increase in using nutrition labels to guide grocery purchases

“Brighter Bites is a theory-driven, evidence-based health promotion program that mitigates fruit and vegetable waste and converts it into a public health opportunity by systematically sourcing and channeling primarily donated produce into underserved communities.”

“The overarching goal of Brighter Bites is to increase the demand for, and intake of, fruits and vegetables among low-income children and their families. To ensure this happens, our model provides comprehensive nutrition education for students and their parents and creates exciting opportunities for children to practice healthy eating behaviors in school and at home. Ongoing evaluation allows us to critically assess program efficacy, while pushing the scientific dialogue forward to understand how to healthfully feed our families.”

DR. SHREELA SHARMA, CO-FOUNDER

Read Her Bio

SUSTAINED CONSUMPTION

94% of participating parents reported their family ate all or most of the fruits provided, and 87% ate all or most of the vegetables.

HIGH PROGRAM FIDELITY

Participating families reported attending 7 of 8 available distributions on average in each of the fall and spring semesters.

LOW COST OF PRODUCE

On average each week, Brighter Bites families received 57 servings of fruits and vegetables, which cost the program $2.65 per family per week.

BRIGHTER BITES INTERVENTION LOGIC MODEL, HOUSTON, TEXAS 2013-2015

THE FRAMEWORK BEHIND THE FRUIT

How we built our three-part formula, developed our messaging and materials, and continue to evaluate program success.

explore our LOGIC MODEL

FEATURED PROJECT

IMPACT OF SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH ON BRIGHTER BITES PARTICIPANTS

We are currently studying how the social determinants of health, specifically food insecurity, impacts our Brighter Bites families’ behaviors such as grocery shopping, dietary intake, and program attendance.

CONTINUED RESEARCH

Translating research into practice, and practice into research.

Publications

Marshall, A., Bounds, G., Patlovich, K., Markham, C., Farhat, A., Cramer, N., Oceguera, A., Croom, T., Carrillo, J., & Sharma, S., Study Design and Protocol to Assess Fruit and Vegetable Waste at School Lunches. Behavioral Sciences. 2019, Volume 9, Issue 9, pp 101-116.

Sharma, S.V., Markham, C., Ranjit, N., Marshall, A., Bounds, G., Chow, J., & Hearne, K., Impact of a school-based nutrition intervention on fruit and vegetable waste at school lunches – Results from the Brighter Bites pilot plate waste study. Journal of Nutrition, Education, and Behavior. 2019, Volume 000, pp 1-9 .

Sharma, S.V., Upadhyaya, M., Bounds, G., & Markham, C., A public health opportunity found in food waste. Preventing Chronic Disease. November 2017, Volume 14:160596.

Alcazar, L., Raber, M., Lopez, K.,  Markham, C., & Sharma, S.V., Examining the impact of a school-based fruit and vegetable co-op in the Hispanic community through documentary photography. Appetite. 2017, Volume 116, pp 115-122.

Sharma, S. V., Chow, J., Pomeroy, M., Raber, Salako, D. O., & Markham, C. Lessons learned from the implementation of Brighter Bites: a food co-op to increase access to fruits and vegetables and nutrition education among low-income children and their families. Journal of School Health. April 2017, Volume 87, Number 4, pp 284-296.

Raber, M., Sharma, S. V., Pomeroy, M., Mody, A., Markham, C., & Lopez, K. K. Brighter Sights: Using Photovoice for a Process Evaluation of a Food Co-op Style Nutrition Intervention. Journal of Health Disparities Research. Fall 2016, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 20-34.

Sharma, S. V., Markham, C., Chow, J., Ranjit, N., Pomeroy, M., & Raber, M. Evaluating a school-based fruit and vegetable co-op in low-income children: a quasi-experimental study. Preventive Medicine. 2016, Volume 91, pp 8–17.

Sharma, S. V., Markham, C., Helfman, L., Albus, K., Pomeroy, & M, Chuang, R.J. Feasibility and acceptability of Brighter Bites: A food co-op in schools to increase access, continuity and education of fruits and vegetables among low-income populations. Journal of Primary Prevention. 2015, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 281-286.

PRESENTATIONS

Sharma, S.V., Scott, L. (February 2020). Brighter Bites: Improving Community Health by Creating a New Generation of Produce Consumers. Oral presentation at the Association of SNAP Nutrition Education Administrators (ASNNA) Winter Conference in Arlington, VA.

Sharma, S.V. (February 2020). The Impact of Diet on Gut Health and Overall Wellness. Invited Speaker at UTHealth Spring Luncheon in Houston, TX.

Cousins, S., Sharma, S.V. (November 2017). Brighter Bites: Marketing as a catalyst for change. Oral presentation at the American Public Health Association 2017 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.

Alcazar, L., Sharma, S.V. (November 2016). Brighter Bites Photovoice: Perspectives from Hispanic participating parents towards the Brighter Bites program. Oral presentation at the American Public Health Association 2016 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO.

Sharma, S., Markham, C., Chow, J., Ranjit, N., Pomeroy, M., & Raber, M. (November 2016). A comparative effectiveness study of Brighter Bites: A food co-op intervention to improve access to fresh F&V and nutrition education among low-income children and families. Oral presentation at the American Public Health Association 2016 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO.

Pomeroy, M. (November 2016). Brighter Bites: Implementing a Food Co-op Concept in Underserved Schools. Oral Presentation at the Southern Obesity Summit in Houston, TX.

Past, Present and Future of SNAP: Evaluating Effectiveness and Outcomes in SNAP-Ed: Hearings before the Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives, 114th Cong. (June 2016) (Testimony of Shreela Sharma, PhD, RD, LD).

Sharma, S., Markham, C., Chow, J., Pomeroy, M., & Raber M. (October 2015). Efficacy of Brighter Bites: a School-Based Food Co-op Intervention. Poster presentation at The Obesity Society Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA.

Sharma, S., Markham, C. Helfman, L., Albus, K., Chuang, R.J., & Pomeroy, M. (May 2014). Feasibility and acceptability of Brighterbites, a program increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables and nutrition education among low-income children and their families. Poster presented at the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

Albus, K., Sharma, S., Markham, C., Helfman, L., & Pomeroy, M. (May 2014). Process evaluation of Brighter Bites pilot study: A community-academic partnership promoting fruit and vegetable intake among low-income, minority populations. Oral presentation at the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

ONGOING RESEARCH PROJECTS

Brighter Bites dissemination and scalability study across all Brighter Bites cities.

Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) with pregnant women, mothers, and infants. Collaborators: part of THRIVE coordinated efforts spearheaded by UT Physicians.

The impact of food insecurity on food shopping behaviors and dietary intake behaviors among Brighter Bites participants.

The impact of food insecurity on Brighter Bites families’ program attendance and participation.

WANT TO GET INVOLVED?

OUR SCIENCE ALLIANCE

Ok y’all - these Kingsted masks are our favorite. We’re delivering food to more than 50,000 families each week across the US, so we needed some that were comfortable, breathable and helped tell our story. For every mask sold, they’re donating one to communities in need! ...

Creating healthy communities, the core of Brighter Bites, includes treating all people equally, with dignity and respect. Brighter Bites stands alongside our Black families, teachers, and staff, and we will not tolerate racism, discrimination or hate. ...

Creating healthy communities includes treating all people with dignity and respect. Brighter Bites stands with the communities we serve, where racism, discrimination, and hate have no place. ...

Creating healthy communities includes treating all people with dignity and respect. Brighter Bites stands with the communities we serve, where racism, discrimination, and hate have no place. ...

Brighter Bites is thrilled to announce our wine for a cause virtual event was a success! With your help, we raised more than $100,000 to support our COVID19 Emergency Initiatives in Houston, Dallas, Austin, NYC, Washington, D.C., and SWFL! A big thanks to the Produce Marketing Association for their unwavering support of Brighter Bites. Our hearts are full. ...

Happy Saturday, all!
Thank you to everyone who logged on last night and helped us kick off night one of Brighter Bites Wine for a Cause. The bidding has begun, and we're already 36% towards our total goal of $150,000 — with three more days to go! We’re excited to keep the fun going the rest of the weekend! If you haven’t already registered, the auction registration link is in our bio!
#wineforacause #wine #freshproduce
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Tonight we are proud to feature another one of our amazing donors, Silver Oak Cellars. Silver Oak began over a handshake between two friends with a bold vision: focus on one varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon, aged exclusively in American oak and worthy of cellaring for decades to come.⠀

Today, Silver Oak farms more than 400 acres of vines in Napa Valley and Alexander Valley with a leading-edge approach toward farming and viticulture, and the softest possible impact on natural resources and the environment. Silver Oak has been cited as one of a dozen California wineries which "have reached cult status" for its Cabernet Sauvignon production, and occupies an important niche in California's wine industry.⠀

In 2016, ten years after a fire destroyed their historic Oakville winery, Silver Oak's new Oakville winery became the first commercial winery in the world to earn the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Platinum Certification for efficient energy use. ⠀

You can bid on several Silver Oak vintages in less than 48 hours! Registration link in bio.
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Wine for a Cause wouldn't be possible without the generous support of our incredible donors! From now until the silent auction goes live Friday at 5:00 PM ET (REGISTRATION LINK IN BIO), we're going to be featuring a few of the vintners and oenophiles whose support has been critical in making our virtual event a success -- starting with Gargiulo Vineyards.⠀

Since their first commercial release in 2000, Gargiulo Vineyards has quietly taken its place among the most highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignon producers in Napa Valley. Jeff Gargiulo and his wife, Valerie, founded their establishment in the early nineties after more than a decade prior of inspiration and coaching from Valerie’s cousins, who were esteemed Napa winemakers. Over the years they pursued their quest to create incredible wine from their now two vineyard locations in Oakville–a hands-on operation that consists of Jeff, Valerie, daughter April, and son-in-law Mitch. ⠀

You will find Gargiulo Vineyards' 2016 Oakville Sessions Cab, 2016 G Major 7 Study Cab, and their 2017 Money Road Ranch Cab featured in our auction inventory, as well as a Gargiulo Vineyard Tasting for six people! Thank you, Jeff and Valerie!
...

The Brighter Bites Fundraiser Wine for a Cause, co-hosted by Produce Marketing Association (PMA), is quickly approaching! Registration is fast and free. Download the Givi app and you're all set to participate. ⠀

From Scarecrow Wine and Screaming Eagle Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, to Dominus Winery and Joseph Phelps Vineyards Insignia, we have procured bottles and cases from some of the finest wine collections in the world that will be available for bidding starting Friday, May 22nd at 5:00 PM ET. One hundred percent of proceeds will benefit Brighter Bites and our COVID-19 relief initiatives.
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Parents and care givers - are you looking for ways to talk about COVID-19 with your kids? We've got you covered with these infographics from the @covid19literacy. For more great fact sheets, For more great resources, go to http://brighterbites.org/family-resources. ...

YardPeeps has made these amazing signs to honor frontline and essential workers who are making our community run while others shelter at home! Proceeds benefit Brighter Bites programs nationwide!⠀

YardPeeps has sold more than 900 signs already to people living in 23 different states and Washington, D.C.!⠀

They are $20 each! Order on http://Yardpeeps.com. Thank you!!
...

Join Brighter Bites for Wine for a Cause, a virtual silent auction on Memorial Day Weekend, May 22-25, 2020, to raise funds that will help provide fresh fruits and vegetables for tens of thousands of food insecure households nationwide that have been hit hardest by COVID-19. Registration link in bio and here: https://secure.qgiv.com/event/brighterbites/ ...

We ❤️ our volunteers! “We took this picture on our first day at RCMA Immokalee Community School in Southwest Florida. Parents, custodians, the principal, the school counselor, the Director of National School Lunch Programs, and countless others came to help that day. In this picture, you see Patti Young, the Director of National School Lunch Programs. She has been a consistent presence from the very beginning, helping us in more ways than we can count, like so many others. We are grateful to all our volunteers from RCMA. Thank you for supporting us, and we can't wait to see you all again!” 🍊🍅🍓
-Rosmery Garcia, Program Coordinator in Southwest Florida
@brighterbites_swfl
#throwbackthursday #volunteerappreciation #brighterbites
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At Brighter Bites distributions in Houston, we are part of an incredible partnership with the Houston Food Bank and the YMCA-Greater Houston Area. Now we are honored to have the support of the National Guard, which is assisting the food bank and its food distribution partners for 45 days. We are honored to work with such selfless men and women to help feed our families in the Houston community! ...

Donate to the Brighter Bites Covid-19 Emergency Response efforts to ensure families nationwide can access fresh, immune-boosting fruits and vegetables during these challenging times. http://www.brighterbites.org. ...

The Brighter Bites-H-E-B produce voucher initiative is up and running in Austin and Houston! Our famlies are using them to buy the produce they have enjoyed from participating in the Brighter Bites program. We even got a sneak peek at what they are buying! Top picks are mangoes, limes, bananas, cucumbers, avocados, corn, pepers, and tomatoes. #eathealthy #immunebooster #covid19 #Austin #Houston #joyoffresh ...