Start Date: February 2014

ID #: 71637

Principal Investigator: Chen Zhen, MS, PhD

Organization: Research Triangle Institute

Funding Round: Round 8

See more related research


Some public health advocates and policymakers are proposing restrictions on the types of foods eligible for purchase with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, such as sugary drinks and food products with minimal nutritional value. To date, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has rejected all such proposals due to lack of research on whether such restrictions would work as intended. The objective of this project is to provide evidence of the likely effects of SNAP food restrictions on child and adult participants’ food choices. The target population is children and adult members of low-income, SNAP-eligible households. Using secondary data on household food purchases and econometric simulation methods, this study will examine the causal pathway(s) through which the SNAP program affects participants’ food choices and nutrition, and the potential impacts of SNAP restrictions and other realistic SNAP policy options. Two models will be estimated: 1) using household food purchase data collected in the nationally representative 2012 USDA Economic Research Service National Food Study, and 2) using the parameter estimates to simulate the effects of SNAP restrictions, changes in the relative prices of specific foods, and SNAP allotment changes on household food purchases and nutrition.

Related Research

April 2024

Mixed methods evaluation of the COVID-19 changes to the WIC cash-value benefit for fruits and vegetables

Recent cash-value benefit (CVB) increases are a positive development to help increase WIC participant fruits and vegetables (FV) access. This mixed method study aimed to evaluate (a) the CVB changes’ impact on FV access among WIC child participants measured by CVB redemption rates, (b) facilitators and barriers to CVB changes’ implementation, and (c) differences in More

April 2024

Promoting Healthier Purchases: Ultraprocessed Food Taxes and Minimally Processed Foods Subsidies for the Low Income

Fiscal policies can shift relative food prices to encourage the purchase and consumption of minimally processed foods while discouraging the purchase and consumption of unhealthy ultraprocessed foods, high in calories and nutrients of concern (sodium, sugar, and saturated fats), especially for low-income households. The 2017–2018 packaged food purchase data among U.S. households were used to More

March 2024

Associations of Increased WIC Benefits for Fruits and Vegetables With Food Security and Satisfaction by Race and Ethnicity

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides nutrition support for racially and ethnically diverse populations. In 2021, the monthly cash value benefit (CVB) for the purchase of fruits and vegetables increased from $9 to $35 and was later adjusted to $24. This study investigated, by racial and ethnic groups, whether More