Working Paper: Promoting Dietary Quality in SNAP While Maintaining Emphasis on Preventing Hunger

Innovations have been proposed and piloted to increase the impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on healthy diets while simultaneously preserving its central role in protecting against hunger. This short discussion paper reviews the rapidly growing research and evaluation literature on these SNAP innovations.

SNAP-based incentive programs provide SNAP participants with a considerable financial incentive and generate revenue for farmers’ markets. The Summer EBT pilot showed that additional benefits had a beneficial effect in reducing very low food security among children, and also that comparatively more targeted benefits had a bigger impact on fruit and vegetable intake than less targeted benefits have. The Healthy Incentives Pilot showed that a 30% financial incentive could have a positive and statistically significant impact on daily fruit and vegetable intake for adults. New Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive pilots are evaluating a wide variety of benefit enhancements in a wide variety of retail settings.