Published: November 2019

Journal: Health Affairs

Authors: Rummo PE, Noriega D, Parret A, Harding M, Hesterman O, Elbel BE

See more related research


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.

Related Research

September 2023

Applied Research Framework: A Guide to Creating Impactful WIC Research Projects and Collaborating with WIC Agencies

The Applied Research Framework aims to help external researchers (e.g., academic or nonprofit researchers) plan, communicate, execute and disseminate research related to WIC. This framework provides a checklist to guide research projects, including advice for building relationships with WIC agencies, descriptions of publicly available WIC-related datasets, and more! WIC agencies may also use this framework More

June 2023

Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 Waivers in WIC on Participation, Fruit and Vegetable Purchases, and Nutrition Disparities: A Natural Experiment

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has well-documented benefits for low-income mothers and children. Yet, coverage of eligible individuals is incomplete, participants do not fully utilize benefits, and dietary disparities persist. It is unknown whether COVID-related changes to WIC, particularly the increase in the value of the fruit and vegetable More

June 2023

Evaluating the Impact of Emergency Food Benefits in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic on Supermarket Purchases among Families with Children

SNAP and WIC benefits increased in 2020-2021 to combat food insecurity due to COVID-19. Understanding these policies’ impact on household food purchase quality is crucial to guide future recommendations for these nutrition assistance programs. This study aims to assess the effect of changes to SNAP and WIC benefits implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic on the More