Impact of Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives on Household Fruit and Vegetable Expenditures

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2021 May;53(5):418-427. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2020.10.022. Epub 2021 Jan 30.

Abstract

Objective: Evaluate the impact of the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant program on self-reported fruit and vegetable (FV) expenditures.

Design: Pre-post quasi-experimental study design.

Setting: Farmers markets and grocery stores in states with FINI projects.

Participants: A total of 2,471 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households in 4 intervention groups who lived near a FINI retailer (farmers market or grocery store) and 4 matched comparison groups who did not live near a FINI retailer.

Main outcome measures: Awareness and use of point-of-sale incentives and changes in self-reported monthly household FV expenditures.

Analysis: Ordinary least squares intent-to-treat regression model using lagged dependent variable model framework.

Results: Awareness of FINI was higher among households who were near a FINI retailer and had shopped there before FINI than those who lived near a FINI retailer but had not shopped there before FINI; the number of information sources from which SNAP participants heard about FINI was positively associated with incentive receipt (P < 0.05). Among those who received incentives, the average amount of incentives received at the last shopping trip ranged from $15 to $23. The FINI program had a positive impact on the average monthly FV expenditures for those in the farmers market shopper, grocery store shopper, and grocery store general intervention groups-increases ranged from $9 to $15 (P < 0.05).

Conclusions and implications: Point-of-sale incentives were associated with an increase in FV expenditures among SNAP households. Further research is needed to examine (1) effective messaging strategies to increase incentive awareness and (2) the long-term impact of incentives on FV expenditures.

Keywords: SNAP participants; awareness; change in fruit and vegetable expenditure; financial incentives; food insecurity; usage.