The USDA Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows SNAP participants to shop and pay for groceries online, rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 2020 to March 2021, the number of participating states increased from 5 to 47. This brief assesses whether the Pilot promotes healthy food access (using the criteria of availability and utilization) and nutrition security, including household food security and healthy dietary behaviors. The findings show that the Pilot is not currently meeting these aims equitably. Availability of stores participating in the Pilot is still lacking, particularly in rural food desert areas and in communities reliant on small, independent grocers. Despite increased retailer participation in the Pilot, and growing acceptability and utilization of online food purchasing, there are many personal, structural, and financial barriers that make further adoption challenging. The brief offers recommendations to promote a more equitable expansion of the program. Policies that: (1) provide technical and financial assistance so that local retailers and producers can participate in the Pilot; (2) support utilization among SNAP participants through structural changes; and (3) strengthen and enforce requirements for authorized retailers can overcome current limitations and help ensure healthy food access for all SNAP participants.
Promoting Equitable Expansion of the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot
Acceptability, Preference, and No-Show Rates for In-Person and Phone-Based Consultations at Nine WIC Centers in New York City Before and During COVID-19
Access to WIC benefits typically requires an in-person visit to a WIC center, however this became a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic due to recommendations for social distancing to minimize and prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, in-person requirements were removed for all visits, except first time … More
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest United States Department of Agriculture federal nutrition assistance program. As an entitlement program, SNAP is designed to expand as incomes fall, enabling the program to respond quickly when need increases. For example, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP served an average … More
Promoting Responsive Bottle-Feeding Within WIC: Evaluation of a Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change Approach
Bottle-fed infants are at greater risk for overfeeding and rapid weight gain (RWG), so evidence-based strategies for promoting healthy bottle-feeding practices are needed. The aim of this study was to assess whether policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies for promoting responsive bottle-feeding practices within the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for … More