Rural communities in Appalachia are displaying increased obesity prevalence, yet traditional interventions have not provided a broad enough impact to improve dietary consumption patterns. Therefore, expanding efforts that address the food environment and incorporate behavioral nudges through community-developed marketing strategies may be a viable mechanism to improve food and beverage choices within this unique population. This study installed shelf-wobblers across n = 5 gas stations in one rural Appalachian county in Kentucky. Smart Snacks were identified from store inventory lists utilizing the CDC Food Service Guideline for Federal Facilities calculator and were categorized into high-protein snacks, low-fat carbohydrate snacks, meal replacement snacks, and no-calorie beverages. NEMS-CS audits were conducted, and monthly sales data was collected at baseline and for six months thereafter for each store location. A difference-in-difference model was used, adjusting for total sales or total mean sales for each Smart Snack model to assess the percentage change within and between stores. Overall, percent change in mean sales and total sales across all stores resulted in a percentage increase of sales of Smart Snack items following wobbler installment. This study provides unique insight into how a community-driven approach to marketing can influence the sale of healthier food and beverage items.

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Published in Nutrients, v. 13, issue 7, 2200.

© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This research was funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO), Cooperative Agreement number 1NU58DP0065690100.

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The data presented in this study are available on reasonable request from the corresponding author.

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