Pricing incentives may reduce disparities in obesity among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants by increasing fruit and vegetable purchases. However, few studies have evaluated the feasibility and effectiveness of those incentives in supermarkets, as opposed to farmers markets. In 2015 and 2016, as part of a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) pilot program, a dollar-matching program in Michigan provided SNAP participants with a subsidy on fresh produce purchases. Using data on millions of individual transactions from thirty-two stores, we found that SNAP participants’ spending on fresh produce was significantly higher at stores that implemented the subsidy than at control stores during both intervention periods (7.4 percent and 2.2 percent higher in 2015 and 2016, respectively). Our results highlight the effectiveness and feasibility of dollar-matching programs for fruit and vegetable purchases by SNAP participants who shop at supermarkets, and they support the USDA’s expansion of existing programs to that setting in additional states.
Evaluating a USDA Program that Gives SNAP Participants Financial Incentives to Buy Fresh Produce in Supermarkets
Evaluating the Impact of Subsidizing Purchases of Fresh Produce in Supermarkets for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Recipients
The 2014 Farm Bill Authorization included $100 million to promote the purchase of fresh produce among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants through matching financial incentives for every SNAP dollar spent on fresh produce. As part of this, the Fair Food Network (FFN) received over $5 million to expand its … More
In the next year, an estimated 1 in 4 children will experience food insecurity (up from 1 in 6, pre-pandemic), disproportionately impacting children in low-income households and racial/ethnic minorities. To mediate loss of school meals during closures and reduce COVID-19 exposure, Congress authorized the USDA to permit local education authorities … More
Food insecurity among households with children under 18 has increased dramatically during the COVID pandemic; from 15% in 2018 to 28% in June 2020. Governments and school districts have rapidly adopted policies to help children facing food insecurity as a result of the pandemic. Two leading policies include the Pandemic-Electronic … More