Incentives will help SNAP households purchase more fruits and vegetables
Washington, D.C., Jan. 19, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, or FNS, is improving access to fruits and vegetables by expanding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, healthy incentive initiatives. This year, FNS will select up to three states to receive funding and support to run an Electronic Healthy Incentives Pilot, or eHIP, for SNAP participants in their state.
Incentive programs encourage SNAP recipients to purchase healthy foods by providing a coupon, discount, gift card, bonus food items or extra funds when they buy specific foods, such as fruits and vegetables. These projects improve food and nutrition security by making it easier for SNAP households to access the healthy foods we all need for optimal health and well-being.
Many existing SNAP incentive programs are run by third-party organizations. Through the eHIP projects, states will test SNAP incentive program models, which could reduce administrative costs and increase efficiency, allowing more incentive dollars to reach SNAP participants, enabling them to buy more nutritious fruits and vegetables. Increased demand for fruits and vegetables also helps strengthen the food supply chain.
“USDA is committed to ensuring every American family has access to affordable, nutritious foods.” said Stacy Dean, USDA deputy under secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “That’s why we continue investing in evidence-based programs that make a difference. Research shows that SNAP participants who received fruit and vegetable incentives consumed 26% more fruits and vegetables per day than nonparticipants. With the help of our partners and stakeholders throughout the country, SNAP incentive programs can change lives and ensure a healthier, more prosperous future for more Americans.”
Funding for eHIP is provided through President Joseph R. Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Interested states must apply by March 31, 2023. To learn more, view the entire Request for Applications.
Launching eHIP is one of many recent USDA actions to expand SNAP healthy incentives.
While programs like GusNIP and HFMI are federally funded, any SNAP-authorized retailer can operate an incentive program. More and more local partners are implementing innovative SNAP incentive programs under FNS-issued waivers. For example:
These are just some of the models that can be replicated across the country to reach more SNAP households. Interested retailers or funding entities must first apply for a waiver through FNS. Learn more on the SNAP healthy incentives webpage.
Incentives could be a particularly helpful tool as the extra pandemic-related SNAP benefits, known as emergency allotments, come to an end. Per the law recently passed by Congress, all SNAP households’ benefits will return to normal amounts, without emergency allotments, no later than March 2023. One of the ways states, retailers, advocates and partners can help increase purchasing power for SNAP households during this transition period, and beyond, is to launch or expand SNAP healthy incentive programs.
This effort delivers on a commitment made in the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases by 2030 – all while reducing disparities. The National Strategy was released in conjunction with the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in over 50 years, hosted by President Biden on Sept. 28, 2022. FNS’s report, “Leveraging the White House Conference to Promote and Elevate Nutrition Security: The Role of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service,” highlights ways the agency will support the National Strategy.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.