While the FNRI food pyramid enjoyed widespread recognition, consumers viewed it as a general guideline and expressed difficulty in understanding its specific nutrition messages. A formative research was conducted to generate science-based evidence for the development of a new guide and determine perceptions on the old guide (pyramid).
Key informant interviews (KII) was conducted among 153 experts (nutrition educators) and 27 focus group discussions (FGDs) among users (mothers) in urban and rural communities in Luzon. Each FGD was composed of 6 participants, a moderator and recorder. Quantitative analysis of KII data involved frequencies and percentages, while qualitative analysis of FGD proceedings was done through textual analysis.
Majority of the key informants and mothers were aware of and have used the pyramid. They offered a number of different locations where they had seen it like through advertisements, health centers, schools, offices, and bookstores. Though aware, key informants cited serving portion and content as the most common barriers in using it. Mothers cited “no money” to follow recommendations, unavailability of copies especially in rural communities and unclear copies as the barriers to its usage. Most of the KIs and mothers said the existing guide (pyramid) is enough but a supplement guide will be helpful to make it more relevant to today’s lifestyle and food choices. KIs and mothers both affirmed that the supplement guide should indicate a “per meal” eating recommendation rather than “per day”.
The pyramid still has value but there is a need for a supplement guide to complement its usage on a per meal basis. Problems encountered on the use of the pyramid were related to insufficient resources, availability, access and downloading to the grassroots.