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Press release

Peer educators play key role in new recipe development and testing

Philadelphia | November 14, 2023

Research published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior establishes a way for peer educators to evaluate and inform recipes for cooking demonstrations

Cooking and recipe demonstrations encourage healthy eating and adoption of unfamiliar foods by class participants. The research briefopens in new tab/window shared in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavioropens in new tab/window, published by Elsevier, demonstrates that valuable input by peer educators can be obtained through a hybrid home-use testing method.

The process of recipe development involves sensory evaluation about the appearance, aroma, taste, texture, and flavor of the food. Although a controlled laboratory setting is the gold standard for evaluation because of consistent preparation and presentation of food, bringing peer educators to a central location results in time and financial constraints.

Corresponding authorGinnefer O. Cox, PhD, RD, Department of Nutritional Sciences, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia, explained, “Peer educators are key stakeholders in the recipe development process because of their close relationship with the community and their hands-on involvement with recipe demonstrations.”

For this study, 40 peer educators signed up to select from eight recipes to prepare over a four-week period. They were provided detailed recipes, non-perishable ingredients, but shopped for the perishable ingredients. They completed two surveys per recipe, preparing the recipe following the first survey. The presurvey (first survey) asked questions about their perceived acceptance of the recipe title, appearance, flavor, texture, and likelihood of peer educators preparing the recipe at home or as a food demonstration for Food Talk. Food Talk is a direct, evidence-based initiative of the University of Georgia using the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and SNAP-Ed curriculum to help individuals make nutrition-related decisions.

Additional questions from the presurvey included how Food Talk participants may perceive these recipes based on the peer educator’s experience with participants and the likelihood of participants preparing the recipes at home. After preparing the recipe, the postsurvey evaluated similar questions after the peer educator had tasted the finished recipe.

The study showed no significant difference in overall liking or preparation acceptance from the presurvey to postsurvey responses. The presurvey responses provided valuable insights into the perceptions surrounding a recipe before preparing and tasting it; additionally, postsurvey comments solicited specific modifications to adapt ingredients to a specific culture, improve the preparation or cooking time, or make the title more descriptive.

This study allowed peer educators, established as key stakeholders of the nutrition programs they teach, to be involved in recipe development (Credit: Taras Grebinets/

“The use of presurvey and postsurvey questions of acceptance toward unfamiliar recipes offers an underexplored method of evaluating recipes in the community nutrition setting. Our research may indicate that an online process can be used to predict recipe performance without formal testing at a central location,” concluded Dr. Cox.


Notes for editors

The article is “Sensory-Informed Evaluation Method for Use With Peer Educators of Nutrition Education Programs,” by Melanie K. Ng, PhD, RD; Koushik Adhikari, PhD; Elizabeth L. Andress, PhD; Sarah T. Henes, PhD, RD, LD; Jung Sun Lee, PhD, RD; and Ginnefer O. Cox, PhD, RD ( in new tab/window). It appears in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, volume 55, issue 11 (November 2023), published by Elsevier.

The article is openly available at in new tab/window.

Full text of the article is also available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Eileen Leahy at +1 732 238 3628 or [email protected]opens in new tab/window to obtain a copy. To schedule an interview with the author(s), please contact Ginnefer O. Cox, PhD, RD, at [email protected]opens in new tab/window.

An audio podcast featuring an interview with Ginnefer O. Cox, PhD, RD, and other information for journalists are available at in new tab/window. Excerpts from the podcast may be reproduced by the media with permission from Eileen Leahy.

About the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB)

The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB), the official journal of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB), is a refereed, scientific periodical that serves as a resource for all professionals with an interest in nutrition education and dietary/physical activity behaviors. The purpose of JNEB is to document and disseminate original research, emerging issues, and practices relevant to nutrition education and behavior worldwide and to promote healthy, sustainable food choices. It supports the society's efforts to disseminate innovative nutrition education strategies, and communicate information on food, nutrition, and health issues to students, professionals, policy makers, targeted audiences, and the public.

The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior features articles that provide new insights and useful findings related to nutrition education research, practice, and policy. The content areas of JNEB reflect the diverse interests of health, nutrition, education, Cooperative Extension, and other professionals working in areas related to nutrition education and behavior. As the Society's official journal, JNEB also includes occasional policy statements, issue perspectives, and member communications. www.jneb.orgopens in new tab/window

About Elsevier

As a global leader in scientific information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society. We do this by facilitating insights and critical decision-making with innovative solutions based on trusted, evidence-based content and advanced AI-enabled digital technologies.

We have supported the work of our research and healthcare communities for more than 140 years. Our 9,500 employees around the world, including 2,500 technologists, are dedicated to supporting researchers, librarians, academic leaders, funders, governments, R&D-intensive companies, doctors, nurses, future healthcare professionals and educators in their critical work. Our 2,900 scientific journals and iconic reference books include the foremost titles in their fields, including Cell Press, The Lancet and Gray’s Anatomy.

Together with the Elsevier Foundationopens in new tab/window, we work in partnership with the communities we serve to advance inclusion and diversity in science, research and healthcare in developing countries and around the world.

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Eileen Leahy


+1 732 238 3628

E-mail Eileen Leahy