Fruit and Vegetable Incentive Programs for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Participants: A Scoping Review of Program Structure

Nutrients. 2020 Jun 4;12(6):1676. doi: 10.3390/nu12061676.


The low intake of fruits/vegetables (FV) by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants is a persistent public health challenge. Fruit and vegetable incentive programs use inducements to encourage FV purchases. The purpose of this scoping review is to identify structural factors in FV incentive programs that may impact program effectiveness, including (i.) differences in recruitment/eligibility, (ii.) incentive delivery and timing, (iii.) incentive value, (iv.) eligible foods, and (v.) retail venue. Additionally, the FV incentive program impact on FV purchase and/or consumption is summarized. Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines for scoping reviews, a search of four bibliographic databases resulted in the identification of 45 publications for consideration; 19 of which met the pre-determined inclusion criteria for full-length publications employing a quasi-experimental design and focused on verified, current SNAP participants. The data capturing study objective, study design, sample size, incentive program structure characteristics (participant eligibility and recruitment, delivery and timing of incentive, foods eligible for incentive redemption, type of retail venue), and study outcomes related to FV purchases/consumption were entered in a standardized chart. Eleven of the 19 studies had enrollment processes to receive the incentive, and most studies (17/19) provided the incentive in the form of a token, coupon, or voucher. The value of the incentives varied, but was usually offered as a match. Incentives were typically redeemable only for FV, although three studies required an FV purchase to trigger the delivery of an incentive for any SNAP-eligible food. Finally, most studies (16/19) were conducted at farmers' markets. Eighteen of the 19 studies reported a positive impact on participant purchase and/or consumption of FV. Overall, this scoping review provides insights intended to inform the design, implementation, and evaluation of future FV incentive programs targeting SNAP participants; and demonstrates the potential effectiveness of FV incentive programs for increasing FV purchase and consumption among vulnerable populations.

Keywords: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); dietary quality; farmers’ markets; fruits and vegetables; incentive programs; low-income; produce intake; produce purchasing.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Food Assistance*
  • Fruit*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Motivation*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Poverty
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Public Health
  • Vegetables*