The United Fresh Produce Association has applauded US agricultural secretary Vilsack’s announcement that the US Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) project increased produce consumption among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants.
The pilot, conducted in Hampden, Massachusets, demonstrated that providing financial incentives to SNAP recipients at the point of sale increased the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Under HIP, SNAP participants received an incentive of 30 cents for every SNAP dollar spent on targeted fruits and vegetables credited back to their SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer card.
“We’re very encouraged by these results, especially in light of other successful fruit and vegetable incentive programmes such as Double Up Bucks in Michigan, Wholesome Wave, and others,” said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice-president of nutrition & health. “All of these programmes are showing that incentives to low-income families work to promote fresh fruit and vegetable consumption.”
HIP was authorised and funded by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill passed by the Senate in June 2013 includes US$100m in federal matching funds to support fruit and vegetable incentives for SNAP recipients.
“We are hopeful that this funding will be included in the final version of the 2013 Farm Bill and support the expansion of these incentives to thousands of low-income families,” said DiSogra.